Looters who stole Albanian manuscripts illegally claim Azerbaijan's cultural heritage - Churches of the Albanian Catholicosate

02.10.23 10:40

Karabakh is known as a territory where Christianity has been spread since ancient times, as well as in most parts of Azerbaijan, which became the state religion in the times of Caucasian Albania. Later this territory was a part of different states and empires. However, the spiritual heritage of Caucasian Albania and its ecclesiastical organizational structure - Albanian Catholicosate - existed until 1830, when it was illegally abolished by the Russian colonial administration and all its churches, monasteries and parishes were illegally transferred to the Armenian (Hay) Church with its center in Echmiadzin.


Everything that was built and created in Karabakh before 1830 has by definition nothing to do with Armenia or the so-called "Armenian (Hay) Apostolic Church" with its center in Echmiadzin. And even what was created later, in the second half of the 19th century, can also be called "Hay" with a great strain.


The Albanian Church, which until then had its Catholicos' residence in the Karabakh monastery of Gandzasar, was completely illegally subordinated to Echmiadzin. Also, for example, the Udins, descendants of the oldest population of Caucasian Albania, who have no relation to the Hay ethnicity, were subjected to Armenization, services in their churches were held in the Hay language, their children were educated in Hay schools, Hay priests were sent to them, and under the pressure of total Hay-ization they forgot their Albanian script, and literate people among the Udins also began to write in the Hay language.


But of course this did not make the Udins "Hay-i". Just as the Romanians did not become "Russians" or "Greeks". It is true that the Romanians (Moldavians and Wallachians), until the 17th century, conducted their religious services in Church Slavonic, as did the Orthodox Slavs, the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Bulgarians, the Serbs and the Turks-Gagauzians. And in the 18th century, during the Phanariot rule, the Romanians for a time conducted their services in Greek.


The illegal export of ancient manuscripts, documents and books from the Gandzasar Monastery to the Republic of Armenia should be called nothing other than robbery and plunder. Even the fact that some of these manuscripts and books are written in Hay language does not make them "Hay-ish" and does not give the Republic of Armenia any rights over them. Because they were originally kept on the territory of Azerbaijan. And most of them were and are not created by Hay people.


Nevertheless, recently the Hay media itself admitted that during the 44-day war the original manuscripts, which were previously stored in the Gandzasar Monastery (where in 2015 separatists illegally organized the so-called "Scientific-Cultural Center Matenadaran-Gandzasar"), as well as rare documents and ancient books, were transferred to Matenadaran after Mesrop Mashtots. Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran in Yerevan. Now all the originals stolen from Azerbaijan are stored in the Matenadaran. After the 44th war a part of copies and no originals were returned to Gandzasar.


It is reported that more than 100 manuscripts, including originals (these are invaluable artifacts), 3 dozens of old printed books, about 3 dozens of valuable archival documents, about 700 units of so-called Hay literature were kept in Gandzasar.


Hay propagandists themselves admit the fact of plundering, theft and export of ancient manuscripts belonging to Azerbaijan. They are even "proud" of this plunder (they say that they "saved them from the Turkish barbarians"). They also start a "worldwide howl" that Azerbaijan will "destroy Hay churches".


Hay sources distribute a list of these alleged "Hay" churches of Karabakh, including Gandzasar Monastery, and ask to "save" them. Although, first of all, Azerbaijan takes all the churches in Karabakh under its protection, and secondly, most of them are not "Hay", first of all, the same monastery of Gandzasar (since the end of XIV century, the residence of the Albanian Catholicos).


Hay sources themselves admit that the main church of the Gandzasar monastery, dedicated to John the Baptist, was built in 1216-1238. The main architect of the church, Hasan-Jalal Dola, is a purely Turkic name, characteristic of the Kipchak Christians who migrated en masse to the South Caucasus at that time.


 The vast majority of Karabakh churches mentioned by Hay's sources, allegedly "under threat of destruction" by Azerbaijan, belong to the Albanian Catalicosat.


Since 1830, the Christian shrines of Karabakh have been under "Hay spiritual occupation", which was forcibly established by the Russian colonial administration. Unfortunately, the massive influx of Hay settlers to Karabakh from Iran and Turkey, encouraged by the same Russian Empire, led to the fact that the ancient Albanian population was literally "absorbed" by the flow of settlers.  As a result, their remnants were completely assimilated by the 20th century and switched to the language of the settlers - Hay-speaking. Before that, however, they spoke mainly Turkish, as did their blood brothers, who had earlier become Muslim Azerbaijanis.


During the existence of the separatist so-called "Artsakh", all traces of Turkic or indigenous Albanian heritage were destroyed. Just as all traces of Georgian spiritual heritage have been and are being destroyed in Armenia. It is no secret that in the northeast of the Republic of Armenia, in Tavush Mazra, there are Georgian churches and monasteries, which are either in a terrible condition and are being gradually destroyed or completely "Armenized".




Varden Tsulukidze

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