Armenian Christians celebrate Mass at ancient island church in TurkeyBy AP
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Armenians celebrate rare Mass in Turkey
AKDAMAR ISLAND, Turkey — Hundreds of Armenian Christians are holding Mass at an island church in Turkey for the first time since the World War I killings of Armenians.
Turkey restored the 10th century Akdamar church in Lake Van, eastern Turkey in 2007 and turned it into a museum. Sunday is the first time Turkey has allowed worship there in 95 years and the government will now allow a service to be held there every year. It’s a a gesture to Armenian Christians and to boost reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia.
The government is seeking to improve the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in line with its bid to join the European Union.
Tags: Akdamar Island, Armenia, Eastern Europe, Europe, Middle East, Turkey, Western Europe