Annual service to be held in Van’s Akdamar Armenian Church


 ISTANBUL MINORITIES SEP 03, 2021 The Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island in Lake Van, eastern Turkey, Sept. 3, 2021. (AA Photo)

The Armenian Church on Akdamar Island in Turkey’s eastern province of Van will host the faithful from around the world for annual religious service.

The preparations were completed for the once-a-year ritual, which was held for the first time in 2010 after a 95-year hiatus with the special permission of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The ceremony, normally attended by hundreds of people, will be held this year with a limited number of participants as part of the COVID-19 measures.

The visitors will be taken to the Akdamar island on boats from Gevaş and Edremit districts of Van on Sept. 5 and will participate in the ceremony after having their temperatures measured.

The Armenian church, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Aghtamar and Surp Haç, was built between 915 and 921 by architect Bishop Manuel under the sponsorship of Gagik I Artsruni of the Kingdom of Vaspurakan.

After the 1915 incidents during World War I when the Armenian community in the area was relocated, the church was abandoned. The building’s restoration began in 2005 and it opened as a museum two years later after a comprehensive reconstruction carried out by the state at a cost of about $1.4 million.

The church is open to visitors as a museum, while the Armenian Orthodox community is allowed to hold an annual religious service.


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