Turkey delays single day rite at Armenian Church over referendum

The rite at the Akdamar Church will take place each year in the second week of September.

Turkey delays single day rite at Armenian Church over referendum

The single day rite at the Akdamar Armenian Church in the Akdamar island on the Lake Van was postponed due to the referendum on the constitutional amendment law.

A press release of the Van Governor's Office said they mutually agreed with Archbishop Aram Atesyan of the Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey to postpone the single-day rite from September 12 to the 19th of the same month.

Turkish authorities announced earlier that the historic Armenian Church on the Akdamar island would be opened to religious worship for a single day, as a symbolic gesture to the Armenian community around the world, as part of Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia.

However, the Higher Board of Elections recently announced that the referendum on the constitutional amendment law would be held the same day, which forced authorities to postpone the single-day rite in Akdamar church to September 19 in order to allow Turkish citizens of Amenian origin to vote in the referendum.

Turkey's decision to open the Akdamar Church for a single-day rite, was met with enthusiasm by Armenian communities across the world.

The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church was opened in 2007 at a ceremony that hosted officials from Armenia and Turkey after it was restored by the Turkish government. The restoration costed some 1.7 million USD.

The Akdamar Church was constructed by architect bishop Manuel between 915 and 921 A.D. under the supervision of King Gagik I. Among the important pieces of Armenian architecture, the church draws attraction with its stone workmanship and the relieves on its walls.

Earlier this March, Turkish government gave permission for a single-day religious that would take place once every year at the church upon a proposal by the Van Governor's Office and approval by Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay.

The rite at the Akdamar Church will take place each year in the second week of September.

Turkish officials believe it will boost religious tourism in the region.


AA

Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2010, 11:34
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