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YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 2, ARMENPRESS: An Italian architect, invited by Turkish culture ministry to help restore the Armenian Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island Van in Turkey, is on the ground, Haraj Armenian newspaper in Paris reported.

It identified the Italian as Paolo Panei, who is also a UNESCO expert. Panei is said to define what kind of chemical substances should be used to clean the church’s walls. Haraj also quoted a Turkish Armenian architect involved in the restoration works as saying that it will take a long time.

The Church of Holy Cross was built by architect Manuel between 915 and 921 AD. The restoration project was developed in 2003 by Turkish culture ministry in cooperation with the Conflict Resolution and Peace Establishment Foundation of the Washington-based American University.

Haraj also reported that a Turkish Eapa publisher’s has released a book that contains interesting facts about an Armenian orphanage in Turkish Urfa. Titled ‘The Armenian Orphanage of Urfa’ it was written in 1919 by an American, Mary Caroline Holmes, who responded to calls to help Armenian orphans in Turkey in the aftermath of the 1915 genocide, leaving her native New York for eastern Anatolia and was appointed head of the orphanage. She writes when she arrived the Armenian population of Urfa had been either killed or driven out and the plight of remaining Armenian children was horrible.

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