The Armenian Apostolic Saint Mary’s Church
The Armenian Church is the pulsing heart and the establishment that nourishes the existence of the Armenian people. It has been the corner-stone in the struggle against the several calamities that faced the Armenian people throughout history.
The Armenian Apostolic St. Mary’s church in Kessab has an ancient history that dates back to the middle ages. We do not have concrete evidence to prove this except for an old manuscript that says: “this is the Armenian Orthodox church which was renovated on the year of our lord 1880”. This date in the manuscript implies that the church has existed for at least 128 years. Its presence today is the only eyewitness that testifies for it’s presence in the past.
It is important to mention here that St. Mary’s church in Kessab is an active church and it has functional churches and chapels in the surrounding villages. In Karadouran, there is the church also called St. Mary’s church where the holy mass takes place on regular monthly bases. Within the same village there is the St. Stephen’s chapel that obtains a marvelous view on the sea shore, which serves as a sanctuary for the many who visit it to fulfill their vows. In Eskuran, there is the St.Mary’s chapel-sanctuary where the believers meet during spiritual occasions, in particular, on the ‘St. Mary’s assumption day, where the tender offerings are slaughtered, and a special traditional meal called “herisa” is prepared, and is distributed to the people after the grand mass.
Facing the challenges presented by the 21st century today in Kessab, as well as among all the Armenian communities in the Diaspora, St. Mary’s church plays an important role in delivering the principles of the Christian faith to the new generations.
The Armenian apostolic church has a mission today to proclaim the 2000 year old Christian faith and its traditions with renewed methods so as to make its proclamation more comprehendible and relevant to the new scientifically oriented generation.