The annual Mass at the Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van took place on Sunday.
Participation in this year’s service was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only a small number of invited guests attended the mass. The church was closed to visitors between 9 a.m. and noon to accommodate the Mass.
Religious services resumed in the church in 2010 after a 95-year hiatus.
The church was built between 915 and 921 A.D. by architect Bishop Manuel under the sponsorship of Gagik I Artsruni of the Kingdom of Vaspurakan.
The church was abandoned after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Believed to have been constructed to house a piece of the “True Cross,” which was used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the church was restored in 2005 and opened in 2007.
The church, which is also a museum, is open to visitors.