The annual Divine Liturgy was held at Surb Khach (Holy Cross) Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van on Sunday.
A 25-member delegation accompanied the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop Sahak Mashalyan, who presided over the ceremony. Participation in this year’s service was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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. Religious services were resumed in the church in 2010 after a 95-year hiatus.