Ancient Armenian church holds holy mass
VAN - Demirören News Agency
The mass, which gathered thousands of local and international faithful in Van, was officiated by priest Harutyun Damadyan.
The attendees prayed and hymned in the historic church.
After the ceremony, a pigeon released by Armenian clergy in front of the historic church.
“We held our meeting this year in peace and well-being,” said the 85th Turkish Armenian Patriarch Sahak Maşalyan, hoping that such partnerships will help in the positive development of relations between Türkiye and Armenia.
Pointing to a thousand years of common history, Maşalyan said, “We can develop promising relationships for the future if we focus on the good things that have happened.”
“We prayed for the two friendly peoples to live in peace, for the Caucasus to turn into a land of peace. God bless our country, God bless humanity,” he added.
The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian place of worship, was built between 915-921 A.D. 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 and was accepted on the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage on April 13, 2015.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry has carried out extensive renovation and restoration work to bring the medieval church back to its former glory.
On Sept. 19, 2010, the Akdamar Church hosted its first service after a 95-year break.
The masses, which were suspended for three years after 2015 for security reasons, started again after the problems were resolved. In the church, however, one day of mass was allowed per year.