Churches, Houses of Worship, Urban Monasteries
Author: ÜNLÜ MUCIZE
History of churches
*Assoc. Professor Dr., 19 Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey.
The majority of Christians in the Sanjak of Canik were Greeks. Their religious services were conducted by one of the four Greek bishoprics, which were dependant on Trabzon. The Samsun, Çarşamba and Bafra districts were covered by the religious authority of this Archbishop.  A small number of Gregorian Armenians were religiously subjected to the Armenian Gregorian Bishop of Samsun, the Catholic Armenians and a very small number of Franciscans were religiously subjected to the Armenian Catholic Bishop of Trabzon, and finally a small number of Protestant Armenians were religiously dependant on a mission in Samsun. 
British geologist W. J. Hamilton, who came to Samsun in 1838, makes mention of the ruins of a small church at the foot of the hill leading down to the port, which was originally built for St. Theodore but was later converted into a mosque.  Sir Feruhan also noted in the Baghdad Travels that in 1847 there was one church in each of the Greek and Armenian quarters of the mountainside, just outside the city..  The Church of Gregorian St. Nicholas was the only one of these churches which belonged to Armenians. 
In 1855, a Protestant church was erected by Murat Andon in the Muslim quarter and was ceded after serious thought to Kirkor Simonian, who was a trustee of the church. The churhce’s priests were Armenians.  The Catholic church was established after the Greek, Armenian and Protestant churches. The Italian Capuchin monks, who were expelled from Tbilisi by Tsar Nicholas at the beginning of 1845, came to Trabzon and founded the Church of Santa Maria. Some of these monks came to Samsun later.  In 1856, with the support of the British consul Foriko Garaçino, the Catholic church was built. When Garaçino’s term in office came to an end in 1860, he donated the church to the Capuchin community.  In early 1876, the Capuchin monks, who had French nationality, wanted to reconstruct the church and the monastery in Samsun, but they were put off by the French Embassy. There were two French priests in this old wooden church. At the end, the need for repairs in places of worship was understood and in 1876 the repairs were allowed to take place.  The church was built by Doctor Francesko Saveri O Marcoaldi from Samsun. The name of “Grieving mother” in the sense of “Mater Dolorosa” was given to the new church, which was constructed on the place of the old wooden church. Next to the church, a convent and an additional section in the form of a guesthouse were opened for worship in 1885. The Catholic church, which was under the direction of the French priests, had continued to hold rites without interruption. 
In 1881, there were three churches in Samsun, one Armenian, one Greek and one Catholic, whereas in the district there were 133 and throughout the province there were 301 churches.  Vital Cuinet noted that in 1890 there was one cathedral belonging to the Greek Orthodox, two Armenian churches and one Catholic church in Samsun; the Catholic Church was expanded and repaired once again. Cuinet indicated that there was one church in each of the Greek Orthodox important villages and that the Armenians had also 30 churches across the province.  At the end of 1890, it is understood that there was no change in non-Muslim worship places, as one Greek Orthodox, two Armenian Gregorian and one Catholic Church still existed.  In 1904-1905, there were four churches in the city of Samsun and 154 churches in its villages.  It was the Catholic Church only, which was under the direction of French priests, continued to operate without interruption until the last period of the Empire.
 Musa Çadırcı, “19. YY. 2. Yarısında Karadeniz Kentleri (Trabzon ve Samsun)”, İkinci Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Kongresi Bildirileri 1-3 June 1988, Samsun, 1990, pp. 15-23.
 M.Emin Yolalıcı, XIX. Yüzyılda Canik (Samsun) Sancağı’nın Sosyal ve Ekonomik Yapısı, (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınevi, 1998), p.28.
 Ayşegül Kuş, “XIX. Yüzyılın İlk Yarısında W.J. Hamilton’a Göre Samsun ve Çevresi”, Pamukkale Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 18, 2014, pp. 1-10
 Baki Sarısakal, Gezginlerin Gözüyle Amisos’tan Samsun’a, (Samsun: Samsun Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları, 2010), p.10.
 Osman Köse, “Samsun’da Camiler, Mescitler ve Kiliseler (1923-1950)”, in Osman Köse (ed.), Gelenekten Moderniteye Samsun 1923-1950, Canik Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları, Samsun 2014, pp. 259-297.
 PMA, DH.EUM. 5.Şb.,15/19, 2 Ramazan 1333/15 July 1915.
 Baki Sarısakal, Samsun’da Unutulmayan Olaylar I, (Samsun: Samsun Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları, 2008) p. 26.
 İbid, Köse, pp. 259-297.
 Mucize Ünlü, “Tanzimat Sonrasında Samsun Çevresinde Gayrimüslimlerin Kilise ve Mektep İnşa ve Tamir Faaliyetleri”, in Cevdet Yılmaz, (ed.), Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun I, Samsun Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları, Samsun, 2006, pp. 149-162.
 İbid, Köse, pp. 249-297.
 Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1881, C. 12, Haz: Kudret Emiroğlu, Ankara 1999, s. 289.  Sarısakal, Gezginlerin Gözüyle Amisos’tan Samsun’a, s. 35.
 “Samsun”, Yurt Ansiklopedisi, 9, İstanbul, 1982-1983, pp.6633-6650.
 Trabzon Vilayeti Salnamesi, 1904, C. 22, Haz: Kudret Emiroğlu, Ankara 2009, s. 329.