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Photographer's Note

Kilisenin MS 375-395 tarihleri arasında inşa edildiği sanılmaktadır. Anadolu'da sık蓷 rastlanılan Kapadokya kiliseleri tarzında yapılmış, hatta Trabzon'da Maşatlık mevkiinde benzeri bir mağara kilisesi daha vardır. Kilisenin ilk kuruluşu ile manastır haline d霵şm arasındaki bin yıllık d霵em hakkında fazla bir şey bilinmemektedir. Karadeniz Rumları arasında anlatılan bir efsaneye g顤e Atina'lı Barnabas ile Sophronios adlı iki keşiş aynı ryayı g顤mşler; ryalarında, İsanın ğrencilerinden Aziz Lukaın yaptığı Panagia ikonundan, Meryem'in bebek İsayı kollarında tuttuğu ikonun bulunduğu yer olarak Smela'nın yerini g顤mşler. Bunun zerine birbirlerinden habersiz olarak deniz yoluyla Trabzon'a gelmiş, orada karşılaşıp g顤dkleri ryaları birbirlerine anlatmış ve ilk kilisenin temelini atmışlardır. Bununla birlikte manastırdaki fresklerde sık蓷 yer alıp, 驆el bir 霵em verilen Trabzon İmparatoru III. Aleksios'un (1349-1390) manastırın ger蔒k kurucusu olduğu sanılmaktadır. [1]
14. yzyılda Trkmen akınlarına maruz kalan kentin savunmasında ileri karakol g顤evi stlenen manastırın statsnde Osmanlı fethinden sonra bir değişiklik olmamıştır. Yavuz Sultan Selim'in Trabzonda ki şehzadeliği sırasında iki byk şamdan buraya hediye ettiği, Fatih Sultan Mehmed, II. Murat, I. Selim, II. Selim, III. Murad, İbrahim, IV. Mehmed, II. Sleyman ve III. Ahmed'in de manastırla ilgili birer fermanları bulunmaktadır. Osmanlı d霵eminde manastıra sağlanan imtiyazlar, Trabzon ve Gmşhane b闤gesinin İslamlaşması sırasında 驆ellikle Ma蔝a ve kuzey Gmşhane'de Hıristiyan ve gizli Hristiyan k騽leri ile 蔒vrili bir alan yaratmıştır.
18 Nisan 1916dan 24 Şubat 1918e kadar sren Rus işgali sırasında Ma蔝a civarındaki diğer manastırlar gibi bağımsız bir Pontus devleti kurmak isteyen Rum milislerin karargahı olmuş, nfus mbadelesi ile b闤gedeki Hristiyanların Yunanistan'a g霵derilmesinin ardından 霵emini yitirerek T.C. Kltr Bakanlığı tarafından yakın zamanda onarılana dek kaderine terkedilmiştir.(Kaynak : vikipidia)


Founded in the year 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395), legend has it that two priests undertook the founding of the monastery on the site after having discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain.
During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various Emperors. During the 6th Century AD, it was restored and enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian.[1]
It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the reign of Alexios III (1349 - 1390) of the Komnenian Empire of Trebizond (established in 1204). At that time, the monastery was granted an amount annually from imperial funds. During the time of Manuel III, son of Alexius III, and during the reigns of subsequent princes, Smela gained further wealth from imperial grants. Following the conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1461, it was granted protection by order of the Sultan and given rights and privileges which were renewed by following sultans. Monks and travelers continued to journey there through the years, the monastery remaining extremely popular up until the 19th century.
In 1682 and for a few decades it housed the Phrontisterion of Trapezous, a well known Greek educational institution of the region.
The Monastery was seized by the Russian Empire during the occupation of Trabzon in the years 1916-1918. The site was finally abandoned in 1923, following the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey after the Treaty of Lausanne. In 1930, the miraculous icon of the Panagia Soumel, as well as other sacred treasures of the monastery, were transferred to the new Panagia Soumela Monastery, on the slopes of Mount Vermion, near the town of Naousa, in Macedonia, Greece.
Today the monastery's primary function is as a tourist attraction. Its place overlooking the forests and streams below, makes it extremely popular for its aesthetic attraction as well as for its cultural and religious significance. Currently restoration work funded by the Turkish government is taking place. It is currently enjoying a revival in pilgrimage from Greece and Russia.
There has been some controversy among Orthodox Christians as the divine liturgy has usually been forbidden in or near the monastery. On 15 August 2010 divine liturgy was allowed outside the monastery.

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