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Up to 3,000 people from Armenia expected to attend Divine Liturgy at Armenian church on Turkey’s Akhtamar Island

Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, has issued a statement in connection with the Divine Liturgy that will be served Sunday at the Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van, Turkey.

Ateşyan told Anadolu news agency that the church service will be offered again at this house of Christian worship after a three-year interruption.

He stressed that more participants are expected this year, and said 2,000 to 3,000 people were expected to attend from Armenia.

By the means of the Turkish government, the Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island was renovated in 2007 and opened as a museum for visits.

Subsequently, the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople petitioned to the Turkish government to grant permission for a Divine Liturgy to be served once a year at this church.

In March 2010, the Turkish minister of culture and tourism announced that the permission was granted to offer church service at this house of Christian worship and to install a cross on its dome.

In 2015, however, the patriarchate decided to cancel that year’s Divine Liturgy at this church, and due to the terrorist attacks in the area.

And afterward, the Turkish authorities suspended the holding of religious rituals at this church.

The Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island was built between 915 and 921.


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