The Armenian church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akhtamar in Lake Van will finally get its cross installed on top of the building, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay told journalists in Izmir.
The Church of the Holy Cross was built in the 10th Century and was restored recently and opened as a museum in March 2007. During the restoration the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul asked for installing a cross and a bell on the building but the request was turned down by the Turkish authorities.
In 2009, the governorate of Van accepted a request by the Armenian Patriarchate to hold mass once a year in the cathedral. The date of the mass was fixed for September 12, the original day when the church was consecrated almost 1o centuries ago.
The Board for the Preservation for Historical and Natural Resources in Van has recently made a decision to grant permission for the cross, Gunay said. “This is a very recent decision. The governor of Van asked me to announce it to the public but I was in Greece and told the news to the Greek media,” he said.
The cross will be put in its place before the mass in September, the minister added.