Before & After: Ancient Armenian Monastery Is Used As Barn

Before & After: Ancient  Armenian Monastery Is Used As Barn –


(photo by Mathew Karanian)

The photos show Soorp Karapet as it appears today, and in its glory just before 1915. 

The Saint Karapet Monastery (Armenian: Սուրբ Յովհաննէս Կարապետ Վանք, or Surb Hovhannes Karapet Vank, meaning Monastery of Saint John the Baptist; also known as Glakavank or Monastery of Glak) was an Armenian monastic complex in the Taron Province of Greater Armenia, about 35 kilometers northwest of Mush, now in the Kurdish village of Chengeli in eastern Turkey. Founded in the fourth century by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, it was one of the oldest monasteries in Armenia. The monastery was a stronghold of the Mamikonians (the princely house of Taron) who were the holy warriors of Saint Yovhannes Karapet (John the Baptist), their patron saint.

Saint Karapet Monastery was also one of the three most important sites for Armenian Christian pilgrimage, and among the richest, most ancient institutions in Ottoman Armenia, until it was destroyed to its foundations by Turks after the Armenian Genocide.

According to historian Robert H. Hewsen, as of 2001, only traces of two chambers of the chapel of Surb Stepanos remain, while the rest of the monastery’s remains consist of “foundations and ruined walls”, which are used as barns.

In May 2015 Aziz Dagcı, the President of the NGO “Union of Social Solidarity and Culture for Bitlis, Batman, Van, Mush and Sasun Armenians”, made a formal appeal to the Turkish Ministries of Culture and Interior requesting the reconstruction of the monastery and the removal of all 48 houses and 6 barns on its former location. Dagcı stated that according to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne the Turkish government obliged to preserve the religious institutions and structures of ethno-religious minorities, including those of the Armenian community. He added that he first forwarded a letter to government agencies in 2012 who promised to clean the site within six months


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