Her moving hymn evokes loss and tragedy as well as faith and hope
A young Armenian woman spontaneously sings a prayer called “Lord Have Mercy” in the Church of the Holy Cross in Lake Van on Akdamar Island, Eastern Turkey. Oblivious to others, she is focused on an icon as she lifts her voice in heartfelt prayer. This church was a medieval cathedral and belonged to the Armenians before the Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1915.
Now abandoned, the church remained unused through many decades after that, but after discovering it was to be demolished in 1951, a writer and journalist named Yaşar Kemal used his contacts he help stop the destruction. The site became a tourist attraction and in 2005, the structure was closed to visitors to undergo heavy restoration. It is now a Turkish museum. But for some, like this woman, it remains a very sacred space.
Let my prayer be set forth as incense before thee; The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. – Psalm 141: 2