Annual Divine Liturgy held at Armenian Surb Khach Church on Akhtamar Island

The annual Divine Liturgy at Surb Khach (Holy Cross) was held at the Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van.

Participation in this year’s service was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only a small number of invited guests attended the mass. The church was closed to visitors between 9:00 and 12:00.

Religious services were resumed in the church in 2010 after a 95-year hiatus.

The church was built between 915 and 921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel under the sponsorship of Gagik I Artsruni of the Kingdom of Vaspurakan.

The church was abandoned after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The building’s restoration began in 2005 and opened as a museum two years later. 

Believed to have been constructed to house a piece of the “True Cross,” which was used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the church was restored in 2005 and opened in 2007. The church is usually open to visitors as a museum. 

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