VAN. – The Armenians, who arrived in Diyarbakir, Turkey, to attend the reopening of, and first Holy Mass at, the city’s St. Giragos Armenian church, were surprised by the posters placed in Diyarbakir streets.
Diyarbakir City Hall had placed posters that read “Welcome to Your Home,” in Armenian, together with the image of St. Giragos church. And the sign that reads “Welcome,” in Turkish, Kurdish, Assyrian, and Armenian, can still be seen in the city’s entrances, Armenian News-NEWS.am’s correspondent reported from Van, Turkey.
Not too many visitors have come from Armenia to take part in St. Giragos’ reopening and the Holy Mass to be celebrated there. This notwithstanding, a considerable number of Diaspora Armenians has arrived. In his interview with Armenian News-NEWS.am’s correspondent, Diyarbakir’s Deputy Mayor noted that, according to their information, around 2,000 Armenians have come to their city from different countries.
Reopening and consecration of St. Giragos, which is one of the largest churches in the Middle East, will take place on Saturday while the first Holy Mass will be celebrated on Sunday.
The church was left to its fate after 1980, but Diyarbakir Armenians who now live in Istanbul established the St. Giragos Fund in order to restore the church. This Armenian fund paid 70 percent of the restoration costs, worth $2.5 million dollars, and the Diyarbakir City Hall paid the remaining 30 percent.
St. Giragos will reopen as a functioning church.