The Georgian government is set to fund efforts to restore a historical monastery in the Turkish village of Camlyamac, in the eastern province of Erzurum, a local official said, Today’s Zaman reports.
The Osvank Monastery was constructed between the years 963 and 973 and was dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
The monastery included a church, a refectory and a scriptorium. It was one of the most important bishoprics in the region and a center of culture especially famous for its manuscripts. The church is by far the largest cruciform-shaped church in the region.
It retained its importance until the end of the 15th century.
“In 1985 the Turkish Ministry of Culture designated it as a monument to be protected and preserved and included it on the national heritage list. It remains an important destination among Georgian tourists visiting Turkey,” the newspaper says.
“There were no Georgian churches in Western Armenia, specifically at the time mentioned,” director of the Armenian Genocide Institute Museum Hayk Demoyan commented
“The monastery belonged to Chalcedonic Armenians. The cross on the temple was a bit different from a Gregorian. Later it was replaced by an Orthodox one. There is an inscription in Asomtavruli (ancient Georgian) above one of the ornaments in the Church. That is why Georgia thinks it’s a Georgian temple,” Demoyan said.
Erzurum is one of Islamic centers of the Republic of Turkey, where nothing reminds about the nation which once inhabited this land. Some 10 Armenians temples, including Surb Astvatsatsin and Kyzylvank have been preserved so far.