Divine Liturgy will not be offered this year as well at the Holy Cross Armenian church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van, Turkey.
Pakrat Estukyan, editor of the Armenian section of Agos Armenian bilingual weekly of Istanbul, told Armenian News-NEWS.am that the reason is security concerns.
The church was restored by the Turkish government funding, and in 2007, it opened as a museum.
Subsequently, the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul) petitioned to the Turkish government to get permission for offering Divine Liturgy at this church once a year.
In March 2010, the Turkish minister of culture and tourism announced that the permission was granted to offer church service there and install a cross on the dome of this church.
In 2015, however, the patriarchate decided to cancel that year’s Divine Liturgy at this church, and due to the terrorist attacks in the area.
And afterward, the Turkish authorities suspended the holding of religious rituals at this church.
This matter is reflected also on the International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 of the US Department of State.