AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — A Catholic priest expressed gratitude that parishioners are safe, but their iconic cathedral sustained damages from a powerful earthquake that struck Turkey’s western city of Izmir Oct. 30.
The deadliest tremor to hit Turkey in nearly a decade killed at least 115 people, including two teenagers on the nearby Greek island of Samos. The magnitude 7 quake injured more than 1,000 people in coastal Izmir. Several people have been rescued from the rubble of crushed apartment buildings, including a 70-year-old man and a 3-year-old girl.
“Thanks be to God, there were no injuries. We just got so scared,” Father Ugo De Rosa, rector of St. John Cathedral, told the Catholic News Service.
St. John Cathedral is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, who wrote about the seven historic churches mentioned in the last biblical book of Revelations. The Christian community of Smyrna, known today as Izmir, is one of the oldest in the world.
“The damage to the cathedral is quite serious. With the experts, we are verifying the extent of the damage. The restoration work will take a long time. This is not good for Izmir’s small Christian community,” Father De Rosa said of the cathedral that ministers to both the area’s Turkish and foreign communities.
Completed in 1874, the cathedral is considered the most important Catholic place of worship in Turkey’s Asia Minor, as it is the seat of the metropolitan archbishop.
No victims or injuries were reported among the area’s Christian community, Father De Rosa said. However, some were forced “to leave their homes due damages” incurred by the quake. There are about five other Catholic churches in the Izmir Diocese and a number of them suffered minor damages, he added.
“The Church of St. Polycarp, which is the oldest church in Izmir, has suffered serious damage,” Father De Rosa said.
Pope Francis offered prayers for people in Turkey and Greece impacted by the earthquake during his Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 1. Meanwhile, Catholic Relief Services is providing needed humanitarian assistance through its partner organization, the Charity and Solidarity Foundation.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103