Holy Mass at historic Armenian church in Türkiye celebrates unity -
Holy Mass at historic Armenian church in Türkiye celebrates unity
Akdamar Church, situated in Türkiye's eastern province of Van, marks its 11th Holy Mass since reopening in 2010 after a 95-year break, symbolising unity and celebrating religious freedom.[The cathedral is considered one of the finest remaining examples of medieval architecture and UNESCO has added it to its list of tentative World Heritage sites.
The cathedral is considered one of the finest remaining examples of medieval architecture and UNESCO has added it to its list of tentative World Heritage sites. / Photo: Van Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism
The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church in Türkiye's eastern Van province hosted its 11th special mass, hosting guests from Türkiye and Armenia.
Sahak Mashalian, the head of the Armenian Patriarchate in Türkiye, and his deputy Sirvan Murzyan and priest Hovagim Seropyan came to the island along with his clergy to conduct the ceremony in the Akdamar Church.
Speaking to the press, Mashalian told reporters on Sunday that they prayed in a historical place of worship.AAEvery year, on the day of the Cross, Armenians from around the world come to this medieval church and attend the mass organised by the Armenian Patriarch.
"We have performed a ritual in peace and well-being. Performing these rituals in such special places is one of the best indicators of freedom of belief and worship in Türkiye," he said.
"From the moment we stepped into Van (province), we were welcomed with the most beautiful hospitality. The state and security authorities took all the precautions and we held a service in peace," he added.
The ancient church is opened for worship once a year with the special permission of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.AATürkiye's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has carried out extensive renovation and restoration work to bring the medieval church back to its former glory.
Akdamar Church, a medieval place of worship, was built between 915 and 921 CE by architect Bishop Manuel under the direction of King Gagik I Artsruni.
The church, which has a special place in East-West Christian art, carries the most important adornments and the most comprehensive wall reliefs of its time. It was accepted on the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage on April 13, 2015.
On September19 2010, the Akdamar Church hosted its first service after a 95-year break.
The church opened its service every year for one day and the last service was conducted in 2022, which saw a gathering of thousands of local and international tourists in Van.
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