ISTANBUL – New Syriac Orthodox Church in Istanbul The Syriac Orthodox St. Ephrem Church in Istanbul held a historic groundbreaking ceremony on August 3.
It is the first new church structure to be built since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The new church, located in the Yesilkoy district of Istanbul, which has an Assyrian population of approximately 18,000, will be completed in two years.
In Turkey, there are an estimated 25,000 Assyrians, the majority of whom live in Istanbul and Mardin. Assyrians who have fled ISIS in Iraq and Syria are also among the 4 million refugees that Turkey currently hosts, along with Yazidis, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, and other ethnic groups. The predominant Christian denomination among Assyrians is the Syriac Orthodox Church, with their followers being called Syriacs. Chaldeans are Assyrian adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) has helped to provide humanitarian aid of food and medicine for Assyrian/Chaldean refugees in Turkey through a $100,000 grant to the Chaldean Federation of America. The program was administered jointly with the Istanbul-based Turkish Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac Humanitarian Organization (KASDER).