The faithful that attended the first liturgy at the renovated Church of St. Voukolos, in Smyrna, the first after the Asia Minor disaster, experienced historic and highly emotional moments, on Sunday morning.
No services had been held since 1922 at the church, and now after 92 years, it was turned over the faithful fully renovated.
The temple is dedicated to the patron saint of Smyrna and is the only Orthodox Christian church that was not destroyed in the disaster of 1922. It is located in the district of Basma and was recently renovated by the City of Smyrna.
From 1922 until the renovation it was used as a warehouse, then a classical music concert hall and opera and later as first an archaeological museum and then as a repository of antiquities.
The event was welcomed with holy joy and emotion by Greek Orthodox Community of Izmir which hopes that the church will finally be turned over for permanent use as a Greek Orthodox church.
For years the Greek Orthodox community of Smyrna was housed in a Protestant church that was granted by the Dutch living in Smyrna.
The Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Voukolos of Smyrna was celebrated by Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne and permanent Clerical Supervisor of Izmir Kyrilos Sikis who announced the arrival of the Patriarch at Smyrna to officiate at the Liturgy of the feast day, of the Saint, on February 6, 2015. A liturgy will also be held on February 10, 2015, a day of remembrance of St. Haralambos, where for the first time since 1922 there will also be a liturgy by the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Church of Saint Haralambos in Cesme.
The historic liturgy at St.Voukolos was attended by the Mayors of Smyrna, representatives of the Greek consulate in Izmir, representatives of the local Catholic community and of course the Greek Orthodox living in Izmir.