The Importance of Patriarch Kirill's Position in Echmiadzin's "Church Intrigue" Against Azerbaijan

15.02.24 12:25

The Hay nationalists, along with Echmiadzin and the Vatican (and possibly the French special services), are conducting an 'ecclesiastical special operation' against the Orthodox community of Azerbaijan.  However, this operation seems to be losing momentum due to the patriotic and faithful position of the majority of Orthodox believers in Azerbaijan.  It appears that the leadership of the ROC and Patriarch Kirill have taken note of this position. This conclusion can be drawn from the interview with Archimandrite Alexis (Nikonorov), Secretary of the Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the ROC.


The appointment of Hieromonk Filaret (Tikhonov) as Bishop of Baku and Azerbaijan was made without considering the opinion of the Orthodox of Azerbaijan. It is believed that the appointment was influenced by the Hay and pro-Vatican lobby. Bishop Savva (Tutunov), who has French citizenship and is of Hay origin, is suspected of lobbying for the appointment due to his connections with Paris and the Vatican within the Moscow Patriarchate. Meanwhile, Hay nationalists on social media expressed their satisfaction with the appointment of Archimandrite Alexis (Nikanorov) as the bishop of Baku. He is a citizen of Azerbaijan and a historian who has extensively studied the heritage of Caucasian Albania, despite not having close ties to his native country.


The world's oldest Christians, known as Hay, are not concerned about their Christian brethren in Azerbaijan. Rather, they are worried about the destruction of Hayan myths and how to preserve the looted historical heritage of the Albanian Church. Additionally, they have been able to maintain their positions for several centuries after this privatization. This position is not necessarily reflective of Christian beliefs.


However, from the interview with Archimandrite Alexis (Nikonorov), who is known to be strongly disliked by the Hay lobby for his position and defense of ancient Albanian holy sites (and claimed by Echmiadzin), it follows that it is too early to rejoice with the Hay Nazis.


Patriarch Kirill seems to recognize the significance of the Bishop of Baku and Azerbaijan gaining acceptance among the Orthodox believers of Azerbaijan.


Archimandrite Alexis also addressed the matter of the Albanian-Udin community, emphasizing that external forces, particularly Echmiadzin, aim to isolate and separate this community from global Christianity and Orthodoxy. Archimandrite Alexis Nikonorov visits the Udins in Nij and Oguz to perform divine services, maintaining their connection with Orthodoxy.  This has caused hatred from Hay nationalists and Echmiadzin, who deny the existence of the ancient Albanian Church and unique culture of Caucasian Albania, and claim that all the heritage of the ancient Albanian Catholicosate belongs to Hay. The existence of Udins refutes the false speculations of Hay falsifiers.


Alexei Nikonorov responds to the claims of Hay extremists that Albanian churches and cultural monuments are 'Armenian' solely because of the presence of Armenian inscriptions. Nikonorov cites the example of Georgia, where many Georgian churches from the times of the Russian Empire have preserved inscriptions, frescoes, and icons in Russian and Church Slavonic. However, it is important to note that these churches are not necessarily Russian, just as the Hayan temporary control over Albanian churches in Azerbaijan does not make them Armenian.


In the early 19th century, the Georgian Church, along with the Church of Caucasian Albania, was included in the Russian Church by the same rescript of Nicholas I. As a result, its head became subordinate to the holy synod located in St. Petersburg, after the Albanian Catholicasate was given to Echmiadzin. Imagine that all the artwork in the Cathedral of Zion, built since the early 19th century, is still frescoes painted by Russian icon painters. Now, imagine someone in Russia declaring that all churches in Georgia are Russian churches simply because there are frescoes by Russian icon painters Nesterov or Vasnetsov, or inscriptions in Russian or Church Slavonic on the icons. This does not necessarily mean that it is Russian Christian heritage. It is important to avoid subjective evaluations and biased language when discussing cultural heritage. Our neighbors are doing the same thing, which may seem absurd and make us smile. However, just because they have managed to gain influence in the Albanian Church, both politically and religiously, it does not mean that everything that has been created in these territories for centuries and served the indigenous people has suddenly become 'Armenian'. This is an absurd notion, and I will continue to speak out against it. "No matter what kind of reaction it causes," says Archimandrite Alexis, "there are forces that are fighting against the fair recognition of the Christian heritage of our country, Azerbaijan."


Orthodoxy in Azerbaijan is increasingly becoming more national and closely connected with the country. The translation of the divine service into Azerbaijani, the native language of the majority of Azerbaijani citizens, is a crucial effort, including the work carried out by Archimandrite Alexy (Nikonorov).


The Baku and Azerbaijani Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, along with Orthodox Christians and citizens of other religions in Azerbaijan, oppose attempts to ignite separatism and dismember the united Azerbaijani state. Archimandrite Alexy (Nikonorov) mentioned the opening of an Orthodox parish in Lankaran, located in the southern region of Azerbaijan.


The Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese is involved in organizing education and pilgrimage trips, as mentioned by Archimandrite Alexis Nikonorov in his interview. With the liberation of Karabakh and its ancient Christian Albanian shrines, Orthodox pilgrims now have the opportunity to visit the shrines of ancient Caucasian Albania in Karabakh. In the future, the ancient Albanian monasteries in Karabakh may be revived as Orthodox monasteries and receive pilgrims from all over the Orthodox world.


Archimandrite Alexis Nikonorov is working to return the Christian holy places of Azerbaijan to their rightful owners, the Orthodox Christians of Azerbaijan. Despite the strong opposition from the Hay lobby and Hay falsifiers, he remains committed to this objective. Echmiadzin is currently in a dispute with the Christians of Azerbaijan over the heritage of Caucasian Albania. They claim ownership based on their temporary appropriation and inscriptions, but this is being contested.  In a short interview, Archimandrite Alexy did not mention the claims of the Hay lobby to 465 Georgian Orthodox churches in Georgia.


The development of the Orthodox community in Azerbaijan depends on the position of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill. The leadership of the ROC is increasingly focusing on the Turkic world, Turkic countries, and peoples. Proof of this is the preparation of the Congress of Orthodox Turks, as previously reported by Kavkazplus. Patriarch Kirill is surely aware of this. It is important to note that the intrigues of a small nationalist group, which historically fell into monophysitism, can hinder mutual understanding between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Turkic world.



George Mazniashvili

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