Turkey church opens to worshippers

Religious services at 10th century Armenian church for one day seen as symbolic gesture by government.

    The Church of the Holy Cross church on Akhmadar Island, Turkey opens for first mass in ninety five years [AFP]

    Approximately 2,000 Armenian Christians are expected to worship at the church of the Holy Cross, a 10th century Armenian church on Akdamar Island in Turkey for the first time in 95 years.

    The church was closed in 1915 and reopened as a museum in 1997. It is reopening for religious services for one day as a symbolic gesture by the Turkish government.

    As the small church can only accommodate 50 people, big screens and loudspeakers have been put outside to facilitate the expected 2,000 worshippers.

    Last month, the government also allowed the celebration of mass at the Sumela Greek Orthodox monastery. Religious services there had been banned for 88 years.

    The historical mass is expected to start at 0800 GMT and finish at 1000 GMT. It will be broadcast live by the Turkish state broadcaster.

    SOURCE: Associated Press


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