The annual Divine Liturgy at Surb Khach (Holy Cross) Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island in the eastern province of Van will be held with limited participation on Sept. 6 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A 25-member delegation will accompany the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, Archbishop Sahak Mashalyan, who will preside over the ceremony. Added to the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage in 2015, the church was built between 915 and 921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel, under the supervision of Gagik I Artsruni, an Armenian king.
Believed to be 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 has been hosting annual international religious ceremonies organized by the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul once a year since 2010.