September 05, 2006

Turkey's Prime Minister To Attend Akhtamar's Reopening Ceremony In October

According to recent reports in the Turkish press, restoration work on the Holy Cross Church on the island of Akhtamar in Lake Van is over and that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is scheduled to attend the reopening ceremony to take place on the site sometime in early October.

The Turkish press also write that the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Mesrop II Mutafian, who helped spearhead the drive to get the church restored, will offer a message of reconciliation to both Armenia and Turkey that will be jointly be broadcast by both Turkish and Armenian radio stations.

In April 2005, after decades of neglect by Turkish authorities, some US 1.5 million was allocated by Turkey's Ministry of Culture for stabilization work to finally proceed. The contract was given to a local Kurdish contractor.

The Holy Cross Church was built in 951-921 A.D., during the reign of King Gakik I, of the Ardzruni princely family. In 1113 A.D. the church became the residence of the Catholicos of Akhtamar.

For years Turkey had been criticized by the European Union and prestigious preservation organizations for allowing this unique architectural and cultural monument to deteriorate to such an extent that there were fears it might collapse if immediate restoration work was not carried out.


Post a Comment

<< Home