This year, the 10th rite was held by Armenians in Akdamar Church. For the first time, during the ceremony that the protocol did not participate, Armenians flew peace pigeons with the wishes of peace and freedom.
This year, the 10th rite was held by Armenians in the historical Akdamar Church on Akdamar Island in the Gevaş district of Van. Every year, the ministry official and the Governor of Van attended the ceremony, while the protocol did not attend this year, Culture and Tourism Provincial Director Erol Uslu and Van Museum Director Fatih Arap attended the ceremony on behalf of the protocol. While boats are prepared with a free shuttle service every year, this year, even the journalists did not arrange for vehicles and boats. Patriarch of Armenians of Turkey Sahak Mashalyan and High Priest Harutyun Damadyan and 46 clergy attended the ceremony in which the lowest organization in 10 years was held. After the prayers and hymns sung in the church, the Armenian clergy went out of the church and performed their prayers here as well.
‘We lit our candles with the wishes of a world without war’
Participating in the event, where messages of peace and tolerance were given, Armenians spoke to Serhat News. Cemile Toksoy, who attended the service, says that she has lived in Istanbul for 43 years and came to Van for the first time. Expressing his happiness, Toksoy said, “I felt myself in different worlds. I would love for everyone to come and visit the church. We lit our candles with wishes for a war-free world,” she says.
‘We are happy to see that different religions continue’
Mine Uslucan and Afrin Aras also said that they came from Istanbul for the mass and gave the following words: “It is a very nice feeling to come together with all religions. What are religions and cultures? It is necessary to present them to everyone. We lit our candles and said our prayers. It was our duty to attend the service as it was a holy day. We were wondering about the church and we came. We are very happy to see that the faith continues.”
The ritual, which lasted about 4 hours, ended with the flying of pigeons, which are the symbol of peace.
Translator: Akif Coşkun