DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—Dozens of Armenians and their Muslim neighbors gathered at the recently renovated Sourp Giragos Church in Diyarbakir to celebrate Easter on March 31.
As it proved difficult for the Istanbul Patriarchate to send a member of the clergy to Diyarbakir on Easter Sunday, Kevork Fikri, an intellectual who offers Armenian language courses in the city, was asked to help with the celebrations.
Gafur Ohannes Türkay, a member of the Sourp Giragos Church Foundation board of directors, said, “We requested a clergyman from the Istanbul Patriarchate. Priests were unavailable on Easter day [as they were holding Easter ceremonies in their respective parishes], so we were going to have to celebrate Easter a week later.”
“The community, however, wanted to celebrate on Easter Sunday, which is why we approached Kevork bey, who is not a clergyman but knows Armenian liturgy well,” he noted.
Author Şehmuz Diken was among those taking part in the Easter celebrations. “As a child, I use to come to this church with my family on religious holidays,” he said. “We celebrated with the Armenians, and they celebrated with us.”
“Most of our Armenian neighbors are not among us now,” said Diken.
He added, “In the 60s, on Easter Sunday, my father used to wake us up early and say, ‘Bedo [Armenian singer Bedri Ayseli] has prepared eggs and choreg for us!’”
Many Islamized Armenians were among the participants in the Easter celebrations at Sourp Giragos, the largest Armenian church in the Middle East.
This report was filed by The Armenian Weekly’s Diyarbakir correspondent Gulisor Akkum. For more photos and coverage, visit our Facebook page.