Turkish authorities have given the go-ahead for the construction of the first Orthodox Christian Church in Istanbul since 1923, the Greek Reporter website reports today (January 10, 2019).
Bulent Kerimoglu, the mayor of Istanbul's Bakirkoy municipality, told reporters on January 8 that the appropriate paperwork has been completed and a permit issued for the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Kerimoglu said once the church is finished -- after an expected two years of construction -- it will serve around 17,000 Syriac Orthodox believers. The proposed church will have a capacity for some 700 worshippers.
Assyrians are an ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient northern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Their language -- an Aramaic tongue -- is one of the oldest in the world, with a history stretching back 5,500 years.