ISTANBUL (Panorama.am) — Turkey’s Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy attended a divine liturgy held on Sunday, September 9, at the historic Armenian Church Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Akhtamar island, in eastern Van province, Ermenihaber reported.
As the source reports, organized by the local Armenian Patriarchate, the religious ceremony was the first in four years after the annual event was scrapped due to security concerns.
“We continue to respect, support, and protect Armenians’ religious freedoms and life cultures. This will continue to be the case. We have started the ceremonies because the security environment has been ensured again this year. Thus, we are very happy. Our wish is that services at the Akhtamar Church will continue without any interruption,” the minister said, as quoted by local sources.
The historic church re-opened in 2007 as a “monumental museum.” In 2010, the cathedral hosted its first service after a 95-year break. The church hosts one service every year; the last service was conducted in 2015, which saw a gathering of thousands of local and international tourists in Van.