1,100-year-old Armenian church in Van holds 10th holy mass since reopening

A 1,100-year-old Armenian church on Akhtamar Island in Van province hosted its 10th special mass on Sunday since reopening in 2010 after a 95-year hiatus.

Sahak Mashalian, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, and Father Harutyun Damatian came to the island along with the clergy to conduct the ceremony in the Holy Cross Church.

The mass was led by Damatian and attended by 46 clergymen from the patriarchate and some visitors from Istanbul, Armenia, and other parts of the world.

Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian place of worship, was built between 915-921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel under the direction of King Gagik I Artsruni.

The church, which has a special place in Christian art, carries the most important adornments and the most comprehensive wall reliefs of its time and was accepted on the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage on April 13, 2015.

On Sept. 19, 2010, the Akdamar Church hosted its first service after a 95-year break. The church opened its service every year for one day.

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