Thursday November 27, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
12o C
9o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Orthodox church in Izmir faces demolition

 Plans for a new highway threaten Profitis Ilias
Profitis Ilias is set to be demolished at a time when the ambitious plans of the Izmir Municipality to revive lost city monuments are in full swing. [Esref.Ucar/Panoramio]

By Dimitris Rigopoulos

Plans for a new highway are threatening one of the last surviving Greek Orthodox churches in the region of Izmir (Smyrna) in Turkey.

Profitis Ilias (named after the Prophet Elias/Elijah, a revered figure for both Christians and Muslims) is a three-aisled basilica commissioned in 1846 by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Anthimus VI.

Its dimensions are 10 by 19 meters and it has a quadrilateral rooftop. It lies on a prominent spot on the road to the suburb of Budjah, 2 kilometers southeast of the city center, in St Anne's Valley, where the Meles River (Yeşildere) flows under the Sirinyer and Yesildere aqueducts, which date to Roman times.

Profitis Ilias is set to be demolished at a time when the ambitious plans of the Izmir Municipality to revive lost city monuments are in full swing. Recently an entire neighborhood near the slopes of Mount Pagos and the Kadifekale fortress was razed to the ground in order to allow for the excavation of the scant remains of an ancient Roman theater. The authorities plan to reconstruct the theater and put it to use.

Today, the church lies dilapidated, as Achilleas Chatziconstantinou, a Greek geographer and researcher of the historical topography of Izmir, says. The external porch is completely missing and there is a huge hole on the western side where the main entrance was. The interior of Profitis Ilias has been ransacked. Because of its size and the fact that it was built far from the town, some describe it as a monastery, but the absence of other structures suggests otherwise.

There are many postcards from the pre-1922 era that show the church in an idyllic location among tall trees, the river and the aqueducts. In fact, it was a popular countryside destination for the inhabitants of Smyrna. In his books, Christos Solomonides also names the last priests who served there in 1922: Aristarchos and Agathaggelos.

After 1922 and the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey, the area was declared a restricted military zone and the church survived as an ammunition depot. However, while this designation served as protection for as long as the area remained a military zone, the Izmir Municipality's plans for the construction of a new highway have now put its very existence in danger.

In 2011, Doğay Korkmaz, a postgraduate student of architecture at the Izmir Institute of Technology, presented his master thesis, titled “Investigation of Conservation Problems of the Prophet Elias (Elijah) Church in Izmir,” the only known study of the church so far. The potential destruction of Profitis Ilias will erase all hope for future research on the structure and remnants from previous eras that might still exist on the ground. This would have a negative impact on the study of Christian Smyrna and most of all on the history of the Greeks of Asia Minor, whose places of worship continue to vanish at an alarming rate after 90 years of neglect.

ekathimerini.com , Friday August 23, 2013 (14:59)  
Greek researcher close to a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s diagnosis
Decaying housing complex sits on Athens prime real estate
New citizenship law hinges on school education
Legislation bypasses wetland and forest of Schinias
A new angle for tourism: A for Athens Riviera
The day will come when, asked about where they’re planning to spend their vacations, British, Japanese and Canadian holidaymakers might very well say, “The Athens Riviera.” What springs to m...
New film, ‘Promakhos,’ makes case for return of Parthenon Marbles
Two lawyers fight for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Greece in a film produced by brothers Coerte and John Voorhees, due to open at theaters on Thursday, Nove...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Hundreds of migrants on crippled ship off Crete
2. Atletico eyes last 16 berth against Olympiakos
3. Debtors snap up offer for easier settlements
4. Belgium gas firm said to be eyeing DESFA
5. OLP approval paves way for investment in Piraeus
6. Airport tender exceeds expectations
more news
Today
This Week
1. Anastasiades to undergo heart surgery in the US on Dec 4
2. Cargo vessel carrying hundreds of migrants adrift southeast of Crete
3. Two police officers among 9 arrested for drug trafficking
4. Trade deficit widens by 8.7 percent during Jan-Sept period, says ELSTAT report
5. Fraport, Copelouzos offer highest bid for Greek regional airports
6. Stop Mediterranean becoming vast migrant cemetery, Pope tells Europe
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Extremism from a bygone era
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Cosco’s Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.