By Sam Topalidis April 11, 2020 (From The National Herald)
The St Michael Greek Orthodox church (Plate 1) is located up a steep hill in Ortamahalle, Akchaabat (formerly called Platana by the Greeks), on the Black Sea, 14 km west of Trabzon in Turkey. The Byzantine church is likely to have been built in the 13th–14th century and was restored and extended in 1846.
When Hamilton visited the St Michael church in 1836 he observed that the priest summoned his congregation by striking a piece of wood suspended from a tree (a semantron). In 1916, during the Russian occupation in World War I, the church underwent cleaning by Russian researchers. The church was abandoned in 1923 when the Christian Greeks were forced out of Anatolia as part of the Population Exchange.
In 1958 the church was used as a residence but before 1987 it was deserted. In September 2019, the church was covered in scaffolding as part of its renovation. However, due to the difficulties being experienced in early 2020 with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), renovation work has stopped. According to my friend Paulus Eugenius from Akchaabat, there is six month’s work remaining before completion.