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PostHeaderIcon KONYA TRIP

Our patron saint the Exalted Mevlana lived most of his life and is buried in the City of Konya in central Turkiye. Every year thousands of people from all over the world visit Mevlana' s tomb; they have heard something of his words of love and unity, and come in pilgrimage seeking what pilgrims always seek. Mevlana himself had this to say: " Whoever comes to my tomb with a pure hear t is both the visitor and the visited." Mevlana lives in the hearts of those who love him, who love peace and brotherhood.     On Friday night, 28 September 2001, 90 of our members and friends boarded 2 busses and set out from Istanbul for Konya. Throughout the night we sang hymns, had a chance to chat with those we might not see frequently, listened to music, and enjoyed the anticipation. We reached Konya about 8:00 in the morning and as is custom, first paid our respects at the memorial tomb of Shams of Tabriz. Although Shams and Mevlana were one in spirit, in name Shams was the spiritual master and Mevlana his disciple; thus courtesy requires a visit to Shams first.       Arrangements had been made for breakfast, and after eating and freshening up, we walked to the sight of Mevlana\rquote s tomb. Strains of the reed flute fill the air inside the building, and tombs of masters and dervishes of the Mevlevi Order line both sides of the way. Three tombs together: Mevlana's father, Sultan-ul Ulema, Mevlana himself, and his son, Sultan Veled. After a short prayer we separated from the crowd of visitors, regrouped outside, and walked to the cemetery known as "Ucler Kardes" (Three Brothers). Through a strange sea creature they learned of the greatness of Mevlana, and later their devotion to him was made manifest by their tombs turning toward Mevlana's, not toward Mecca.       We went by bus to the outskirts of town to the tomb of Mevlana's one time cook, Ates Bazi Veli, known for his pure and absolute faith. After that we went up to the wooded hills of Meram where Mevlana and his followers spent much time in relief from the summer heat. Some members of our choir had brought their instruments and first of all they played the music of a Sema Ceremony. emdash certainly this is the way Mevlana would have wanted to be commemorated. We then went back down to the city to visit again to Mevlana' s tomb at the museum' s closing. This time Hasan Çıkar led us in a short litany and prayers. It is we who keep the spirit of Mevlana alive by striving to live according to his words and thoughts of love and unity}}



With our three-city tour in Italy from 21-28 July, 2001, a new page was added to the continuing efforts of our group to share the Exalted Mevlana' s message of peace and brotherhood with all people.    In the City of Udine, the first stop on our tour, we presented our sufi music concert and a Sema Ceremony composed by Hasan Çıkar in honor of the Prophet Mohammed, in the historic Church of St. Francisco. Because of the great interest they felt, the members of the audience had t aken their places hours earlier,and with no regard for differences in race, religion or language, experienced the intoxication of that shared breath.     While the words of love for the Exalted Mohammed echoed off the church walls, the scene presented by the colorfully garbed Semazens (whirling dervishes) together with the ritual music of the choir left the audience with an unforgettable intoxication of the heart. And before going home many gathered around Hasan Çıkar in an effort to learn more of the philoso phy of the Mevlevi Way. \par \par After this wonderfully spiritual evening our second stop was on the shore of the Adriatic in the town of Rimini, where we presented this memorable scene of concert and Ceremony in an open-air theater to an audience of 1500.     The last stop on our Italian tour was on the Austrian border at the skirt of the Alps in the town of Bolzano which hosted the program of the Exalted Mevlana' s message of brotherhood. The weeks-earlier sold out evening was awaited with great expectation . After the concert and Ceremony Hasan Çıkar's responses to the interest and questions of the Moslems and Christians there made obvious his position as spiritual guide on this path which embraces all cultures.     After this 8 day tour our group returned to Istanbul and continues its services as the single representative responsible for presenting the way and thoughts of the Exalted Mevlana.


PostHeaderIcon NEWS BULLETIN!!!

Once again the Contemporary Lovers of Mevlana had the opportunity to share Mevlevi music and Sema Ceremony, and some of the thoughts and words of our patron saint, the Exalted Mevlana, with many people in our neighbor country, Greece. On Sunday 17 June, 2001, a group consisting of 33 members of our association left Istanbul and visited Thesselonica, Yiannitsa, Volos, and again Thesselonica.


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PostHeaderIcon NEW ORLEANS

Some members of our group were invited to New Orleans, Louisiana, to present the Sema as part of an exhibition whose aim was to make the Turkish culture known and appreciated. Thus once more our group experienced the joy of being of service abroad as the representative of the Exalted Mevlana\rquote s message of love, peace and brotherhood.



The Exalted Ali, the companion and successor of the prophet Mohammed, is the role model for the followers of all spiritual paths. The 21st of March is celebrated as his birthday and this year saw a celebration like never before.     In the Cemevi (an Alevi place for gathering/instruction/worship) in Yeni Bosna, on the outskirts of Istanbul, Mevlevi's and Alevi's gathered together and shared the joy of celebrating the coming into the world of the gallant, gentle, loyal, courageous Ali.     A congregation of over a thousand sat in the ceremonial chamber, waiting expectantly for the things to begin. After a short introduction and explanation of the significance of Ali himself, and of this joint jubilee, by Izzet Dogan, the head of the Alevi group, their spiritual leader, the program began. First, The Contemporary Lovers of Mevlana Association Choir presented a full hour of hymns, most of them composed by our Honorary President Hasan Çıkar and members of the choir. The hymns were all in honor of the Exalted Ali or the Holy Family; they were full of praise of the love and greatness of God shown through these humans who had lived exceptional events. The words of the hymns stressed over and over that the greatness of God is only to be found in the human being; that God is not outside the true human being; that it is only through humans that God surveys and enjoys His creation.     After the Hymns a never-before seen Sema/Semah Ceremony took place. The Sema is the turning ceremony of the Mevlevi's. Turning in ecstatic worship of the Divine has its roots in ancient history, but the Exalted Mevlana took it to himself, and his son Sultan Veled brought it to ceremonial form when he founded the Mevlevi Brotherhood on the thoughts and ideals of his father. The Semah is the turning ceremony of the Alevi's, those who have maintained the exaltedness of the companion of the prophet, Ali. While the form of these two turning rites are quite different, their essence is the samethe whole universe turns in worship of the Divine, and man can do this too, deliberately.     A red-robed Mevlevi Semazen (turning dervish) took his place in the center of the chamber, and five others (three women and two men) in white and colored robes, took their places spaced evenly around him at the edge of the open area. Then about 30 young Alevi's circled around the Mevlevi's. Accompanied by the saz (a stringed instrument with a sound similar to a banjo) and a single voice, the Mevlevi Semazens began whirling in place, their right foot propelling them around while they chanted the name of God silently. Around them, the Alevi's began circling and raising their hands and turning in their Semah. As they moved around the chamber the Alevi's formed circles around the Mevlevi's and all turned in joyful celebration. Those outside the circle, sitting , were taken by the purity and rapture of the event, and spiritually they shared in the turning, too. With exuberant cries of Allah Allah' the ceremony ended. A verse from the Koran was chanted by a Hafiz (one who has memorized the Koran ), and everyone chanted together the Tevhid (a prayer of praise and unity). Then all together prayed the Fatiha (the first chapter of the Koran, the basic prayer), Hasan Çıkar offered a prayer, and the Alevi Dede prayed for the people, the country, and for the unity and brotherhood of all.     Ane way of God, all who want to share in the joyful spirit of our path are welcome.

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