VAN. – Ninety-seven years after the Armenian Genocide, the third Holy Mass was celebrated Sunday at the Holy Cross Church of Akhtamar Island on Lake Van, Turkey (PHOTOS).
The Holy Liturgy was offered under the guidance of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Armenian News-NEWS.am’s reporter informed from Van. During the mass, the faithful also prayed for those who lost their lives as a result of the ongoing developments in Syriaand the devastating earthquake in Van.
Even though the number of attendees was considerably less as compared with the previous years, more Armenians from Armenia were on hand at the event this year. In the case when nearly fifty Armenians fromArmenia had attended the mass in the first year, this year that number was well beyond three hundred. Also, approximately seventy Armenians from US were on attendance.
In addition, and following the Holy Liturgy, two children from Armenia were baptized at the Church, andArmenia’s “Akunk” Folk Dance Ensemble performed.
With the decision by the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, the proceeds from this year’s sale of candles were allocated to the special bank account of the Provincial Hall of Van, to provide assistance to the survivors of the Van earthquake.
The Turkish authorities had dispatched close to 200 police officers—some of whom were in civilian clothes—toAkhtamarIsland in order for the mass to be celebrated safely.