Survival and ambivalence: The story of Lausanne

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (l) attend the opening ceremony of the Turkstream Project in Istanbul, in January 2020. The cordial relationship between Erdogan and Putin, amid much anti-liberal rhetoric, is one reflection of the new Zeitgeist. [EPA]

The year of Our Lord 2023 has been a roller-coaster for Orthodox Christians in Turkey. On August 15, it seems, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios will celebrate an emotionally resonant liturgy at the Monastery of Panagia Soumela; permission was granted on July 24 after a report four days earlier that it had been refused.

This year's paschal celebrations, on the patriarch's home island of Imbros, also brought surprises. At the last minute Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was allowed to join His All Holiness for an Epitaphios procession in the steep, rainy streets of a mountain village.

The reopening of the island's defunct airport for the minister's aircraft was an unexpected concession after a period of boiling tension in bilateral relations.

And every such gesture, small and large, is being studied closely because of this year's centenary of the Lausanne...

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