The vicar of Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop Aram Ateshian, Chairman of St. Giragos Foundation Tekin Papuchian, writer Mkrtich Markosian, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, as well as many Armenians from difference provinces of Turkey, Syria and Europe uttered a prayer in St. Giragos church. Currently, renovation works are being conducted in the church, Hurriyet daily reports.
Archbishop Ateshian stressed the opening ceremony of St. Giragos church will be solemnly held in 2011. “This church is of great significance for Armenians, like Surb Khach (Holy Cross) on Akhtamar island. This is the biggest Armenian Church in Middle East and hosts 1400 people. We are happy the church still belongs to Armenian Patriarchate. I hope we will conduct a religious service in the church next year,” he said.
“Even if our prophets are different, we are all brothers. Please accept my fraternity. I am speaking clearly and directly, I am indebted to you. Armenians have equal amount of rights on the city as I do,” Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir stressed. According to him, the opening of St. Giragos Church will be held with Armenian brothers.
$2.5 million dollars restoration project of the church is carried out by Surb Giragos foundation set up by Armenians of Diyarbekir. Foundation chairman Tekin Papucian noted that the church was repaired in early 1990s. However, after Armenian community left Diyarbekir religious services have not been conducted there since 1978 and the church was abandoned. “My children were also born in Istanbul and have not seen Diyarbekir. We plan to complete restoration works in 2011. Diyarbekir city hall also assists the project,” Surb Giragos foundation chairman said.