St. Theodoros Trion Church in central Turkey was targeted yet again by vandals. The church is Greek Orthodox.
The vandals sprayed hate speech across the church’s walls. The vandalism was largely a reference to the secularism that Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, had forced into the governmental structure. A famous slogan of Ataturk, “freedom or death”, dominated the vandalism. Just a few years ago, the same church was targeted by Islamist vandals who wrote slogans such as “the priest is gone, he went to the mosque” — a reference to the country’s genocide and the forced conversions which occurred during this time.
There are no Christians attending this church. All of the congregants were victims of the genocide. They faced death, deportation, and forced conversions. Those few who survived have since fled the country. The church currently stands as a historic monument to the Christianity that once was commonplace in the region.
Yet, centuries of Ottoman Islamic rule and decades of secularist governance has made Turkey a challenging place for Christianity to once again thrive. The encroaching Islamism of the ruling government makes these challenges even harder.