Türkİye, Culture

Assyrian Christians in SE Turkey mark Christmas Day

Limited attendance at Christmas ceremony at Mor Behnam Church in Mardin due to pandemic measures

Halil Ibrahim Sincar  | 25.12.2020 - Update : 25.12.2020
Assyrian Christians in SE Turkey mark Christmas Day

MARDIN, Turkey

Assyrian Christians in southeastern Turkey on Friday held Christmas Day observances at a local church.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of people attended the ceremony at Mor Behnam (Kirklar) Church in the Mardin province

Christmas Mass in Turkey's Mardin amid Covid-19 pandemic

Christians attend the Christmas Eve Mass with face masks and social distancing rules against the COVID-19 pandemic at Mor Behnam (Kirklar) Church in Mardin, Turkey on December 24, 2020.

During the service, led by high priest Gabriel Akyuz, people recited prayers and chants in both Syriac and Turkish for world peace and an end to the pandemic.

Akyuz also read out a message from Saliba Ozmen, metropolitan bishop of Mardin and the province of Diyarbakir, who was unable to attend the ceremony because he contracted the virus.

The ritual was streamed live on social media, allowing the faithful to watch from home.

Most years seats at the church are snapped up quickly, but the pandemic limited participation at the ceremony this year, Akyuz said:

"This contagious disease, which has been going on for a year, has imprisoned people in their homes. Many people have passed away," he added.

"Many people are hospitalized. We prayed for the removal of this disease from the world, our country, and our region."

*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara

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