Ancient Akdamar Church to hold 9th holy mass

Ancient Akdamar Church to hold 9th holy mass

Ancient Akdamar Church to hold 9th holy mass

The Akdamar Church in Turkey's eastern province of Van will host its ninth special mass on Sept. 5 since reopening in 2010 after a hiatus of 95 years.

Previously attended in the hundreds before the novel coronavirus pandemic struck last year, participation in the annual mass will once again be subject to limitations as part of efforts to prevent infection.

A team of 25 people will perform the ritual, said Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez, who added that Akdamar Island, near the southern shores of Lake Van, and the 1,100-year-old church built on it have become a major center of religious tourism.

"This church was built at a time when Islamic civilization was dominant and has been standing upright in these lands for about 1,000 years. This is the most beautiful indicator of Anatolian civilization," said Bilmez.

Located on Akdamar Island in Lake Van, the church was built between 915 A.D. and 921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel, under the supervision of Gagik I Artsruni, an Armenian king.