One Day Service at Akhtamar Postponed; Cross to be Erected on Church

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)—A religious service scheduled to be held at the Holy Cross Armenian church in Akhtamar on Lake Van on Sept. 12 has been postponed until Sept. 19, as the originally scheduled date coincides with a referendum on Parliament’s constitutional amendment package, reported Today’s Zaman.

The Armenian-language Marmara newspaper also reported that the Turkish Cultural Ministry has decided that the church will get a cross, which was removed following a renovation effort, after which it was decided that the 10th century church would be converted into a museum.

According to a statement issued by the Van Governor’s Office, the governor Munir Karaoglu called the Armenian Patriarchate religious council president Archbishop Aram Ateshian to offer to change the date of the religious service at the church to Sept. 19.
Noting that the Armenian community reacted positively to the suggestion, the statement read, “Recalling that the referendum will take place on Sept. 12 and the votes of Turkish-Armenian citizens would be jeopardized [in the event the service was held on the scheduled date], Karaoglu conveyed his suggestion that the service to be held the following week, on Sept. 19. While noting that re-scheduling the service would not cause any problems, Ateshian said Sept. 19 would be suitable for them.”

Turkey’s culture minister Ertugrul Gunay told the local Atlas newspaper that the commission on historic monuments has reversed its earlier decision and will allow a cross to be erected on top of the Holy Cross Church, reported Marmara.

In 2007, when the renovation project concluded, the Armenian Patriarchate appealed to the state commission on historic monuments to include a cross and a bell in the belfry, but the request was denied.

The commission decided that a cross would be erected on the church on the day of a planned pilgrimage to the site.

Last week Turkey’s State Minister Mehemt Aydin announced that some 5,000 people will converge on Akhtamar for the now Sept. 19 pilgrimage and religious service.

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21 Comments

  1. Nairian said:

    Good. «Վանայ եւ Ուրմիոյ լիճերն են լքուած, Ախթամարն է մեր արտասվում անվերջ. եւ այս բոլորը դուք տեսնում էք Հայե’ր եւ այն թողել էք բախտի պատմութեա՞ն, լոկ ցանկանալով հարցեր չեն լուծվում, այս է մեզ ասում մեր կեանքը այժմեան: Պէտք է պայքարել, պէ’տք է պայքարել. եւ պէտք չէ սոսկալ մահից սեփական, մահուան գնով էլ պարտաւոր ենք մենք միացեալ տեսնել հո’ղը Հայկական:»

  2. Nairian said:

    ՄԱՀՈՒԱՆ ԳՆՈՎ ԷԼ ՊԱՐՏԱՒՈՐ ԵՆՔ ՄԵՆՔ ՄԻԱՑԵԱԼ ՏԵՍՆԵԼ ՀՈ’ՂԸ ՀԱՅԿԱԿԱՆ:

  3. Stepan said:

    Ahmet, yes they would, but Yereven is not a Turkish historic area occupied by Armenians.It has had a prolific Armenian history. The presence of a 10th century edifice is evidence of the historic presence of Armenians in Van and calls into question why hundreds of thousands of people left their homeland. I think you know why. It always comes back to the same issue…. why are there no Armenians who live near Agktamar and why is there an Armenian diaspors?

  4. Nairian said:

    Good answer Stepan jan, quite thruthful and to the point, thanks.

  5. Bobken Safrian said:

    I thank God for the renovation of Akhtamara. I thank those who build Akhtamar Chrch in 10 century. Now in 21 centry we are witnessing the resurrection of the an Armenian Church. I thank Grigor the illuminator for converting Armenians into Christianity. As long as we worship Christ and His resurrection we will overccome all the hurdles.

  6. Robert said:

    Ahmet,

    Good point my brother! See below.

    Stepan,

    The truth is that yes, there is ONE mosque in Yerevan that is available and run down (Armenian govt. refuses to to do anything about it). It’s open, but because there are so very few Moslems (Turks, Azeris, etc.) allowed to live in peace there, few go to worship there. The Armenian “secret police” [and DO NOT deny that they’re always there] constantly monitor and photograph anyone who enters and leaves the mosque. How do you think, besides ethnic cleansing, did the Armenian government acheive a 98% national purity rate (the largest on the planet)?!!!

  7. Garo Avedis said:

    Ahmet,take you fake propaganda somewhere else,it dpes not reflect the truth.

  8. Karnig said:

    The mosque in Yerevan is an 18th century mosque that was renovated in the 1990s. It is not run-down. It is a beautiful structure commonly and endearingly called “Blue Mosque” by local Armenians. Persians (Iranians) are the main worshippers at the mosque. They worship freely.

    Robert and Ahmet, please watch this video report from last week to dispel your misconceptions: http://www.armenialiberty.org/video/7267.html

    Please note the worshippers are speaking Farsi in Yerevan (except for one who is speaking English since Radio Liberty is sponsored by the US government).

  9. Araxi said:

    Ahmet probably is not aware that there are mosques in Yerevan. Secondly, our church was built long long ago by our forefathers on our own land called Western Armenia.
    I’m sure your father and grandfather witnessed the Armenian Genocide, after which the cross was taken down.
    Go pray to your Allah for forgiveness.

  10. Araxi said:

    Cross to be erected by the brutal hand that murdered, raped and tortured our sisters and brothers and a whole nation?
    The cross should be erected by an Armenian. This is my wish.

  11. fullmetalmonty said:

    Ahmet and “Robert”, the Blue Mosque (the Turkish mosque, you dimwits) in Yerevan was beautifully renovated some years ago and is used mostly by students from Iran. “Robert”, I know not whether you’re a Turk or an Azeri, but Azerbaijan is consistently ranked as the most corrupt and most oppressive country in the Caucasus. Aliyev removed limits on presidential terms some time ago, no? Also, it’s not the Armenian government that throws anti-government bloggers in prison nor does the Armenian detain people because they voted for the “enemy” in Eurovision. Heck, Armenia doesn’t break up religious processions or put massive restrictions on the opposition’s ability to protest. And Armenia doesn’t have its own version of Article 301 where we instead throw people in prison for denying the genocide. We don’t. Here, read this beautiful article from the Washington Post on what King Aliyev spends his country’s oil money on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/03/04/AR2010030405390.html

  12. fullmetalmonty said:

    Ahmet and “Robert”, the Blue Mosque (the Turkish mosque, you dimwits) in Yerevan was beautifully renovated some years ago and is used mostly by students from Iran. “Robert”, I know not whether you’re a Turk or an Azeri, but Azerbaijan is consistently ranked as the most corrupt and most oppressive country in the Caucasus. Aliyev removed limits on presidential terms some time ago, no? Also, it’s not the Armenian government that throws anti-government bloggers in prison nor does the Armenian detain people because they voted for the “enemy” in Eurovision. Heck, Armenia doesn’t break up religious processions or put massive restrictions on the opposition’s ability to protest. And Armenia doesn’t have its own version of Article 301 where we instead throw people in prison for denying the genocide. We don’t. Oh, and our president doesn’t spend stolen money on real estate in Dubai.

  13. fullmetalmonty said:

    “Robert”, Albania is 98.6% Albanian, and South Korea is a whopping 99% Korean. Japan is also almost nearly homogeneous. Demographics is a terrible argument for judging how malicious a country is.

  14. john papazian said:

    When the Turks allow Armenians to visit Armenian churches in Turkey they always dismiss the fact that these churches predate Turkeys existance.And with the Turkish government destroying more Amenian churches than ever it will only be matter of time before the Turks say ” There were never any churches here”.

  15. Arman said:

    @Stepan Sargsyan,
    Yes I have, it is another slap to our nation from the Armenian government. They got to be stopped before they destroy our roots. Touching our language is the most dangerous game they can play.
    Unfortunately Asbarez is not involved in this kind of important issues. This issue is as much important as the issue of protocols. I think Asbarez should change its editors.

  16. Edward Mouradian said:

    Dearest Robber-t,we all thought you & Ahmed were sisters now you say you are brothers-congratulations for you change of sexBut it is fitting that the ANAturks of Great Turan have become it`s ATAturks.Now what happened with yer efforts to close down the bloody racist dashnak web-sites??? They go on spreading lies about Cold Turkey and if it wasn`t for yer noble efforts we would already have become victims of their terrorist propaganda.You promised us to call Google&Yahoo&pres.Obama on this matter.Please do that before you go to the lavatory with Ahmak Ahmed to change your sex again.

  17. Assadour Pilibossian said:

    Reinstating the cross on top of ” Aghtamar” church is a very good news but, will it be kept there permenantly or just for the day for the cameras.And the size of the cross , the cross on top of Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch in Kayseri is ” too small ” for the size of the cupola .Nevertheless we should be all much obliged to Turkish government for this rational and meaningful decision.An other question is on 19 Sep. will the religious ceremony be conducted in “Krapar” or ‘ çağdaş Türkçe “

  18. T.O. Armenian said:

    Turks and Azeris envy Armenians. From envy comes hatred. Their denial of Armenians being the indigenous peoples of their lands and consequently the denial of the Armenian Genocide is a result of their anti-Armenian hatred that is so deeply fuelled in them. There wish is to see every Armenian wiped out. It would be similar in Germany today if the Nazis were still in power.

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