Historical church to host 3rd divine liturgy
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Armenian Christians will go to the historic Surp Haç Church to pray today in celebration. AA photoThe historic Surp Haç (Holy Cross) Armenian Church-Museum, located on the eastern province of Van’s Akdamar Island, will hosti a religious ceremony for the third time with the Surp Haç (Holy Cross) liturgy on Sept. 9.
Along with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of the United States, people from Istanbul, Armenia and the diaspora are expected to attend the liturgy. Acting Patriarch Archbishop Aram Ateşyan will lead the ceremony on behalf of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey. The preparations for the ceremony have been continuing for the past month.
The historic church, which became a museum after being restored in 2007, was opened for a religious service for the first time in September 2010, when the Turkish government permitted Armenians to organize a religious ceremony in the church once a year.
Last year’s divine liturgy attracted fewer worshipers due to tensions between Turkey, Armenia and the diaspora over the lack of a cross atop Sur Haç.
The cross, which was made by Armenian craftsmen and delivered to Turkey’s Armenian Patriarchate two years ago, was placed on top of the church dome with the approval of Turkey’s Culture Ministry just after the liturgy last year.