A century after its establishment, the historical Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir reopened for worship last year. Now, the church is set to completely return to its former glory with the installation of a new bell on Nov 4. The new bell, which weighs 100 kilograms, was produced in Moscow, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“The new bell, which weighs 100 kilograms, was produced in Moscow and presented as a gift from the Russian Armenian community to the Surp Giragos Church. It’s already been delivered to Diyarbakir and presented to the public,” Istanbul-based Canadian artist Raffi Bedrosyan, who contributed to the restoration of the church, told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The tower was destroyed by cannon fire in 1915 on the grounds that it was taller than the minarets of mosques. The new bell has been crafted in a style similar to the original.
“This church, the greatest Armenian Church in the Middle East, is a clear evidence of Armenian influence in Anatolia before 1915 and now it has become a pilgrimage place for all Armenians from Turkey, Armenia and the diaspora,” Bedrosyan said.
The church was used as a command center by German officers during World War I, and later used as an apparel depot by the state-owned Sümerbank until 1950. It was finally returned to the Armenian community following a lengthy legal struggle. The church reopened for worship last year, a century after its construction.
Bedrosyan also hopes to restore the historical Varagavank Monastery located in the eastern province of Van. “Both Ankara and Van agreed to launch the restoration project, but social and natural obstacles delayed the process. We wish to restore this church with the cooperative efforts of both Turkish and Armenian experts,” Bedrosyan said.