Armenian Monastery of St. George in Turkey Endangered

Sourp Kevork Armenian Monastery in Elaziğ, Turkey, Western Armenia
Sourp Kevork Armenian Monastery in Elaziğ, Turkey, Western Armenia

Sourp Kevork Armenian Monastery in Elaziğ, Turkey, Western Armenia (Source: Panorama.am)

ELAZIĞ, Turkey (Panorama)—Armenian Monastery of St. George (Surb Gevorg) which is located in Sahinkaya village of Turkey’s Elazığ province (historical Kharpert) is in a poor condition, reported Ermenihaber.

All the constructions of the monastery are ruined. Currently only one half-ruined church of the monastery has survived with a total destruction inside the building and cracked columns.

The Armenian monastery, which dates back to the 6th century, previously had its church, bathroom, orphanage and cemetery. It occupied quite a wide area on the upper part of the village. It has welcomed hundreds of students since it was built and has been an asylum for an endless flow of refugees after the Armenian Genocide.

During the ruling period of the Turkish Union and Progress Party, the monastery was transferred under the control of Sadık Ekrem, a soldier from Bitlis. Ekrem and his soldiers were reportedly digging the monastery, hoping to track down treasures hidden under it. Local residents have said monastery has regularly been subject to attacks by treasure hunters, as a result of which it has been completely destroyed.

The villagers state that enormous crosses, an image of horseman could be seen on the church walls before 1990. However, they were destroyed by unknown people without any reason.

Over 35 years ago, Turkey’s Foundation for the Protection and Promotion of the Environment and Cultural Heritage submitted a claim on the preservation of the monastery. Afterwards, Elazığ’s municipality and Museum of Archaeology and Ethnograpy had it registered.

However, no measures have yet been taken to restore and maintain the Monastery of St. George is fenced off with barbed wire.

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