DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—Hundreds attended a church service held on Tues., Sept. 10, at the Sourp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir.
Two days earlier, on Sun., Sept. 8, a church service was held at the Sourp Khatch Church on Aghtamar Island in Van, during which five Armenians were baptized.
The head of the Sourp Giragos Church Foundation, Vartkes Ergun Ayık, told the Armenian Weekly that the two services were held two days apart to maximize attendance.
Acting Patriarch Aram Ateshyan conducted the church services, as Sourp Giragos does not yet have a priest.
“Unfortunately, there is no institution for training clergy in Turkey, which is why two years ago an Armenian from Adiyaman [in Turkey] was sent to study abroad. Upon the completion of his education, he will be assigned as permanent pastor at Sourp Giragos,” Ayık told the Weekly.
The church service was also attended by Mayors Osman Baydemir and Abdullah Demirbas, the heads of the Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality and the Sour Municipality, respectively.
“The Armenian people was burnt into ashes in 1915. Today, the Armenians are rising from the ashes in these lands,” Demirbas told the Weekly.
Sourp Giragos was restored and opened for worship in 2011 through the efforts of a handful of Armenian supporters and the Diyarbakir municipal authorities.