Armenian Americans Looking Forward To One-Day Worship at Akdamar

Armenian Americans Looking Forward To One-Day Worship at Akdamar
# 07 May 2010 23:40 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Turkey will open up the Armenian church in the east of the country for a one-day worship on September 12 and Armenians living in California are looking forward to take part at the worship, a Turkish diplomat said. Hakan Tekin, Turkey’s Consul General in Los Angeles where around 1 million Armenian Americans live, said that Turkey’s decision to open up the Akdamar Church on an island on Lake Van for a one-day worship caused a stir among Armenian American community in Los Angeles, APA reports quoting web-page.
"A large number of reservations have been made already," Tekin said.
The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church was opened in 2007 at a ceremony that hosted officials from Armenia and Turkey after it was restored by the Turkish government. The restoration costed some 1.7 million USD.
"I hope our recent constructive policy toward Armenia yields reciprocal steps," he said.
"If normalization process goes on its course, I believe that it would have significant effects on our relations with Armenian diaspora, especially with Armenians living in California who are the hard-liners," Tekin said.
The Akdamar Church was constructed by architect bishop Manuel between 915 and 921 A.D. under the supervision of King Gagik I. Among the important pieces of Armenian architecture, the church draws attraction with its stone workmanship and the relieves on its walls.
Earlier this March, Turkish government gave permission that a religious rite may take place once every year at the church upon a proposal by the Van Governorship and approval by the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay.
The rite at the Akdamar Church will take place each year in the second week of September, officials said. Turkish officials believe it would boost religious tourism in the region.