Our Patron Celal Ögmen (at right)

Oh it is remote. Dead silent, miles of pale water between you and the shore, no electricity, freezing in winter, much discipline, much work. What the monks lacked in creature comforts was replaced by the absolute luxury of their art and craftsmanship. There was a library here, and perhaps manuscript illumination, as well as the carved bas-reliefs, the paintings, the stonework. These gravestones are from many centuries and surround the church. Some have been knocked down, others broken or eroded, but each intricately decorated tombstone, created with patience and care, celebrates an entire life dedicated to faith.

Bunnies among the tombstones on Aghtamar Island, Lake Van.

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