The Christmas mass was held at Hatay-Iskenderun Karasun Manuk Armenian Church, on 5 January 2016 Thursday evening. The celebration was led by Father Avedis Tabashyan, the parish priest of the Manuk Armenian Church of Karasun.
The mass of the Feast of Birth and Baptism of Jesus Christ, which is held every year on 6 January at the Armenian Orthodox church, was celebrated with the participation of the Latin Catholic Parish priest of Iskenderun, father Julius Ohanele. The deputy candidate of Hatay from CHP, Nermin Yıldırım Kara also participated to the Christmas mass.
During the mass which was enlightened by candels and prayers, Father Tabashyan in his speech remembered the victims and their families of the terrorist attack in Izmir. Tabashyan, denouncing terrorism by giving a message of unity and solidarity, prayed God and said: “First of all, I wish that the new year may bring peace to our city, our region and our country. Today we are gathered here to celebrate Jesus Christ’s Birth and Baptism. With the birth of Jesus Christ, the love came to our world. He was a light for us. He taught us that the love will win every evil. For this reason, in the new year, the love may never lack in your hearts.”
At the end of the mass, the baptism of Jesus Christ is remembrered through a crucifix that was sank into the water. The faithful kissed the crucifix, then went to the church hall to celebrate the feast, around a cake.
In the hall, the blessed bread, salt and the water have been distributed to the congregation with Christmas carols. Like every year, Santa Claus gave gifts to the small children after the mass. (SAT-7 Türk / İlyas Edip TERBİYELİ-İskenderun)