Historic Armenian church holds first Easter in 8 years

The Easter service was held for the first time in eight years at the historical Surp Giragos Armenian Church in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır's Sur district after it reopened for worship following restoration works.

The 645-year-old Surp Giragos Armenian Church, known as the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, was damaged due to clashes between the Turkish military and illegal PKK militants in 2015.

After the destruction, the historic church in Sur district was restored under the control of the General Directorate of Foundations with the funds provided by the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Ministry.

The church held an Easter service for the first time in eight years. Senior Father Kevork Çınaryan, appointed by the Armenian Patriarchate of Türkiye, led the service.

Ohannes Gafur Ohanyan, the vice president of the Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation, said that they are trying to celebrate Easter after 50 days of fasting.

Ohanyan stated that for the occasion of Easter, clergy were assigned from the patriarchate in Istanbul and people came from all around the region.

"These are not only Armenians. Kurds, Turks and all faith groups are here with us. In 2015, as you know, this place was closed during the conflict in Sur. Our friends in Diyarbakır did not leave us alone when we opened. Although it was interrupted after 2015, today, we have recaptured that old ambiance. We are happy for that," Ohanyan added.

Udi Yervant Bostancı, a member of the Diyarbakır State Classical Turkish Music and Civilizations Choir, said he was happy to celebrate Easter in the church where he got baptized.

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