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Head Of Armenian Patriarchate Visits Hometown Silvan In Southeastern

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  • Head Of Armenian Patriarchate Visits Hometown Silvan In Southeastern


    21:45 11.09.13

    The acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey Aram Ate癬_yan
    has visited his hometown Silvan in the southeastern Diyarbakir province
    on Sept. 11, a first since he was delegated the office following the
    withdrawal of Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan from his duties in 2008 due
    to illness, The Hurriyet Daily News reports.

    Ate癬_yan expressed his joy at being able to make an official visit
    to his homeland, but deplored the destruction of Armenian cultural
    legacy in the area.

    "I have returned happily to Silvan that I had left with sadness when
    I was five years old," Ate癬_yan said, adding that he frequently
    visited the district where his sister is still living.

    "Once upon a time, Turks and Armenians lived together in this land.

    Steps are being taken now to ensure that we can live all together
    once again. We have come to consolidate love and brotherhood,"
    Ate癬_yan said.

    Ate癬_yan stressed the richness of the historic cultural heritage in
    the region.

    "There were eight Armenian churches in the Silvan region alone, but
    most have now been destroyed. The historical monuments should be taken
    under protection and the consciousness of protecting history should
    be developed. The historical buildings and monuments in Silvan should
    be promoted to the whole world," he said.

    Mass at Surp Giragos Church

    Ate癬_yan also paid a visit to the Surp Giragos Church in Diyarbak覺r,
    where he conducted a mass attended by Mayor Osman Baydemir and the
    famous writer of Armenian origin, M覺g覺rd覺c Margosyan.

    The church was restored on Baydemir's initiative and reopened in 2011.

    Ate癬_yan thanked the city officials and the Armenian community from
    Diyarbak覺r for showing interest in reviving the Armenian traditions.

    On Sept. 8, Ate癬_yan had performed the first baptism in 98 years at
    Akdamar Church (Akhtamar in Armenian) on Lake Van.

    Turkish authorities restored the church between 2005 and 2007 before
    opening it as a museum. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated there for
    the first time in 95 years in 2010.

    Eastern and southeastern Turkey was inhabited by a large Armenian
    community before the mass massacres and deportations in 1915.