The Armenian Patriarchal Church declared earlier this week that the liturgy ceremony that was planned to be conducted on September 6 at The Church of the Holy Cross on Akhtamar Island was cancelled. Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan spoke after the decision, releasing a statement via Ihlas News Agency. Ateshyan said that the ceremony will be held in the future.
Pointing out that many planned activities have been cancelled due to clashes across Turkey, Ateshyan said, “After the bookings were cancelled, there [are] only 3 ecclesiastics left here, including me. We didn’t want to conduct such an important ceremony only with 3 ecclesiastics; it wouldn’t be appropriate. Because of the recent events, our congregants are naturally afraid and hesitate to go to these regions. So, we decided to cancel the ceremony, because of our security concerns regarding ceremony and the people who will attend it.”
“This doesn’t mean that we will never hold this ceremony. When an environment of peace and trust is established, we will hold the ceremony in [the] future. However, it would have been better, if we could have [held] this ceremony as planned, because many countries made organizations for high level participation,” Ateshyan said.
Stating that they informed the ministry about the cancellation, Ateshyan said, “This is a loss both for Turkey and Van in terms of tourism. I would like to repeat my call that I made in recent weeks. Both sides should come together with a reciprocal understanding and conclude this issue. Government should conclude this process with peace in all conscience. [A ceasefire] is for the benefit of our country. If the situation goes on like this, every ethnic group in Turkey will suffer.”