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Thursday, 6 August 2015

St Mary's Didim mourns the violent death of their parish secretary


St Mary's Church in Didim, on the Turkish Aegean coast, is mourning the death of one of its members. Several days ago, Jan Bennett, was brutally attacked and murdered while walking her dogs close to her home in the village of Malomir in rural Bulgaria. Her body had then been set alight,

Jan and her husband also keep a home on the Turkish coast where she was a regular member and parish secretary of St Mary's Didim. The esteem with which Jan was held in the Didim area is demonstrated by the fact that the local Alevi community are holding a service of mourning for her this evening, to which the Parish Council has been invited. (The Alevis are a religious minority group in Turkey). On Sunday 9 August the 11 am Eucharist of St Mary's Church will be a memorial for Jan.

St Mary's is a congregation of the diocese, linked to St John the Evangelist Church in Izmir. It has a distinctively ecumenical ministry. English speaking Christians from many backgrounds attend the services and are fully part of our liturgical and parish life. St Mary's was chosen as the name because Didim is relatively near the ancient house of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built St John the Beloved Disciple, according to ancient tradition. The priest-in-charge of St Mary's is the Revd Maurice Ryan. The Church has a website here.

We pray with St Mary's, with Jan's husband, and with all her family and friends, for the repose of Jan's soul.
Almighty God, help us who mourn Jan to come to terms with her sudden and violent death and sustain us through this time of grief. And welcome our sister into the glory of Your Son and into the peace of her eternal home. 
Fr Maurice Ryan

The House of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ephesus

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