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A liturgy in Surb Khach church on Akhtamar Island, Van, Turkey, is over (Photos).

In conclusion, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan delivered a speech, calling for fraternity and peace between Armenians and Turks, the correspondent reports from Turkey. He expressed his gratitude to the Turkish authorities for their permission for annual religious services at the church. Archbishop Ateshyan expressed his regret that Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan was unable to take part in the liturgy. He was the first to raise the issue of renovation of Surb Khach church before the Turkish authorities.

A group of Armenian believers raised wooden crosses, protesting against the fact the a cross was not placed atop the church before the liturgy.

The liturgy passed without any incidents.

Only the Constantinople Patriarchate participated in the liturgy. The three other patriarchates of the Armenian Apostolic Church refused to take part in the liturgy, as the Turkish authorities refused to install a cross on atop the church. Armenian public representatives also refused to take part in the liturgy for the same reason, though they received invitations from the Turkish Premier. The public figures stated that Surb Khach church cannot be considered restored until a cross has been installed on its dome.

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