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Azerbaijan: Persecution of Christian Armenians Identified in US Religious Freedom Report

The damage to Ghazanchetsots Cathedral and other churches as well is consistent with Azerbaijan’s erasure of its Christian past, and its ally Turkey’s contempt for its own Christian history. In Turkey, as well as all over the Middle East and in Central Asia, one principal manifestation of this contempt is the fact that there are mosques built on the former sites of Christian churches, and most notoriously, world-renowned churches that have been converted to mosques, such as Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora. All this is part of an ongoing attempt in both Azerbaijan and Turkey to efface all traces of the Christian presence, so as to give the impression that no Christians ever lived in a particular area from which they were been driven out, and no injustice was actually done.

This is one reason why it is so important for Christians and all people of good will to preserve historical memories of the Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian genocides of the early twentieth centuries, and all other incidents of the persecution of Christians throughout history.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Azerbaijan, see here.

“Azerbaijan Persecution of Christian Armenians Identified in US Religious Freedom Report,” International Christian Concern, June 3, 2022:

06/03/2022 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – The US Department of State 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom documented the destruction of Armenian religious sites by Azerbaijan and attempts to “Albanize” the Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) region.

The report cites the damage to the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi as an area of concern and religious persecution by Azerbaijan. Armenian cross-stones, or Khachkars, have also faced defacement under Azerbaijani control, while Armenian churches and monasteries, such as Dadivank monastery, saw severe visitation restrictions.

The US IRF report cited a Council of Europe resolution that expressed “concern about a developing narrative in Azerbaijan promoting a ‘Caucasian Albanian’ heritage to replace what is seen as an ‘Armenian’ cultural heritage.” This Albanization includes the architectural restructuring of the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral….

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