Hatay's 700-year-old Orthodox church endures further damage in fresh quakes


The Armenia Church of the Virgin Mary, a historical site in the southernmost Hatay province of Türkiye, sustained significant additional damage due to the two earthquakes that occurred Monday.

The damage to the church's outer walls from the twin quakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6 was exacerbated by Monday’s earthquakes, centred in Hatay, unlike the earthquakes two weeks ago.

The Orthodox Church, used by local Turkish citizens of Armenian origin, reportedly dates back some 700 years.

Local authorities closed the church for worship after the Feb. 6 earthquakes, Berç Kartun, head of Vakıflı town, told Anadolu Agency (AA).

"The church was almost completely destroyed in the latest earthquake. It is now unusable. Its outer walls have fallen. There’s a lot of damage inside. Worship isn’t allowed in the church at the moment. It is impossible to enter the building," said Kartun.

At least six people were killed and 294 others wounded when the country's disaster agency said two more minor earthquakes, 6.4 and 5.8, jolted Turkey’s southernmost Hatay province Monday evening.

The Hatay-centered quakes came just two weeks after the devastating magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes centred in Kahramanmaraş.