Restoration begins at world’s first cave church
HATAY - Anatolia News Agency
The restoration process has started at the church since the rocks on the church have become a danger both for the church and visitors. AA photoThe Church of St. Peter, which is the first cave church and regarded as a pilgrimage site for Christians in the eastern province of Hatay, will undergo restoration, and the rock on the church will be repaired.
The church, which is located near the Habibi Neccar Mountain and known as a place where believers of Jesus secretly came together, is composed of a seven-meter-high and 13-meter-deep cave carved into rock.
The restoration process has been started since the rocks on the church have become a danger both for the church and visitors. As part of the restoration work, the rocks will be fixed using the latticing method.
Religious ceremony every year
Antakya Archaeology Museum director Özcan Şimşek said the church had undergone restoration many times in history. “The church was restored by Byzantines in the 11th century and by Italians in the 1860s. Now it is being restored by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Special Provincial Directorate.”
Şimşek said the Catholic Church organized a religious ceremony every year on June 29 and representatives from the Vatican attended the ceremony. He said that during the restoration process, mosaics inside the church would also be uncovered. “A three-story service building will be constructed in front of the church and there will also be cafes and restrooms. The restoration will end in July.”