Bulgarian priests visit holy places in Turkey

Priests visit mosques, churches and synagogues in northwestern province of Edirne

By Cihan Demirci

EDIRNE, Turkey (AA) - Bulgarian priests visited mosques, churches and synagogues in Turkey on Monday.

The priests first visited Bulgarian Orthodox churches of Saints Constantine and Helena and Saint George in northwestern Edirne province.

They also visited Selimiye Mosque and Grand Synagogue of Edirne.

In 2017, Edirne and Bulgaria's Razgrad governorships signed a five-year protocol for student exchange programs and cooperation among cultural institutions to develop tourism and economy.

Georgi Georgiev, a priest, told Anadolu Agency he was happy to be in Edirne.

"We saw that many religions can be practised in a comfortable way in Edirne. It is important for everyone to practise religion at a personal level. Everyone should be free to practise their religion," he said.

Erdine Governor Gunay Ozdemir said that Bulgaria and Turkey enjoy good relations.

Ozdemir said the priests prayed at the church in the morning and later visited the synagogue and mosque.

"They have seen how different faiths are practised here as well. People from different faiths also live in the Balkans. Bulgaria is used to this life," Ozdemir added.

Ozdemir said the priests will also visit the Bulgarian Iron Church in Istanbul.

"The Iron Church has been completed through efforts by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan," Ozdemir said.

Saint Stephen Church -- commonly known as the Iron Church -- was inaugurated in January at a ceremony attended by Erdogan and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

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