As well as a program highlighting the exodus of Christians from Syria this week, the Catholic television network EWTN is currently airing a documentary by the same filmmaker on Turkey’s rich Christian history.
Rome-based journalist and broadcaster Elisabetta Valgiusti takes the viewer through the beautiful and rich Christian heritage of the country, showing how Christianity “developed greatly in ancient Anatolia that is modern-day Turkey.”
“St. John the Apostle was living in Ephesus; St. Paul the Apostle was born in Tarsus,” Valgiusti explains. “The first ecumenical councils: Nicea, Costantinople I, Ephesus, Calcedonia, all happened in this land and were very important for defining Catholic dogma.
“It is the land of the great Byzantium, named afterwards Costantinople in honour of Emperor St. Costantine the Great, and later becoming Istanbul,” Valgiusti says. “St. Peter stayed in Antioch and here, for the first time, the followers of Jesus were called Christians,”
She adds that Turkey is a land “full of Christian witness” but following historical events, the number of Christians has reduced significantly.
“The actual presence of the Church in this land has a great value because it is a witness to a Christianity that is still alive, notwithstanding the persecutions that it suffered in the distant past and more recently in the first decades of the 20th century when the Armenian Genocide took place,” she says.
The number of Christians in Turkey today is about 100,000 and of them, Catholics number 20,000. Latin Catholics total about 10,000, the rest being Armenian Catholics, Syriac Catholics, and the Chaldeans. They all form part of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Turkey.
Valgiusti says compared to 10 years ago, Christians live in a better situation, “but there is still a lot to do.”
CHRISTIANS IN TURKEY by Elisabetta Valgiusti, 1 hour program
Tuesday July 22 and Sunday July 27 check the local time Ewtn USA http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/weekly-schedules.asp#
Europe , Middle East , Uk, Ireland
Sunday July 20 (twice) , Thursday July 24 check local time
Africa/Asia Sunday July 20 and Thursday July 24 check your local time
Asia/Pacific Tuesday July 22 and Thursday July 24 check your local time
for all other areas and different info check
or watch on the web EWTN live http://www.ewtn.com