Sunday, October 15, 2023, marked the beggining of the operation of the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Smyrna, Turkey. It is recalled that the church was granted from the Roman Catholic Church to the Ecumneical Patriarchate to meet the needs of the Orthodox in the region. On Saturday, afternoon, Octobe 14, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna presided over the Great Vespers. The next day, he presided over the Orthros, on Sunday, October 15, and the Divine Liturgy. The Church was full of believers, since many members of the Orthodox Community of Smyrna attended the services.
Ireneusz Bohinski, on behalf of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholics in Smyrna, Apollinaire Bahinde, on behalf of the Order of the Franciscans, former vicar of the Church of Santa Maria, Alexandros Konstas, Consul General of Greece in Smyrna, Mioara Ştefan, Consul General of Romania in Smyrna, and Makvala Kharebava, on behalf of the Diplomatic Authority of Georgia in Ankara, attended the Divine Liturgy.
After the end of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Bartholomew thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his contribution because from the first moment he understood the need of the Orthodox of Smyrna and promoted the request of their Shepherd for the acquisition of a Church. The Metropolitan stressed that this Church would serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox in the region. He also thanked the Roman Catholic Church, especially the Franciscan Order, which, responding to the incitement of Pope Francis, accepted the request of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and bestowed the Church.