Baku, November 5, AZERTAC
The Azerbaijani Albanian-Udi Christian religious community has made a statement expressing its support for all the activities carried out in Azerbaijan to restore the territorial integrity established by international law, and its close participation in this process.
Signed by Chairman of the Albanian-Udi Christian religious community of Azerbaijan Robert Mobili, the statement reads:
“We, the successors of the Albanian (Caucasian) Independent Apostolic Church, the Azerbaijani Albanian-Udi religious community, support all the activities carried out in Azerbaijan to restore the territorial integrity established by international law, and we express our close participation in this process. At the same time, we declare that the liberation of our Armenian-occupied cities and villages by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, including Udi youth, is heartening for us and increases our confidence that the territorial integrity of our country will be fully ensured as soon as possible.
The Albanian Church, as the first apostolic church in the Caucasus, has a long history and has left indelible marks on the religious and cultural life of not only Azerbaijan, but the entire Caucasus. Unfortunately, after various pressures and influences the Albanian Apostolic Church was abolished in 1836, and the Armenian-Gregorian Church tried to take possession of part of its material and spiritual heritage. As a result, a large part of the historical Albanian temples in Azerbaijan, especially in Karabakh, were Gregorianized, along with our historical monuments, archival materials and documents were falsified or destroyed. The Gregorianization of the Albanian heritage, including Albanian temples dating back hundreds of years or even thousands of years, has become a state policy of Armenia for the last hundred years. As a result, not a single Albanian temple has been preserved in present-day Armenia or the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia either Gregorianized the architecture of the Albanian temples or destroyed the temples that could not be changed.
After the restoration of Azerbaijan's independence and the formation of a full basis for freedom of conscience in our country, a historic opportunity arose to restore the status of the Albanian Apostolic Church and eliminate the injustice we face. Therefore, as the spiritual heirs of the Udi Albanian Apostolic Church, we worship in the Albanian churches in Gabala and Oguz today, and we wait impatiently for the day when we will be able to worship in the Albanian churches in the occupied territories, including Aghoghlan in Lachin, Ganjasar in Kalbajar, Holy Elysee in Aghdara and dozens of other temples. We believe that the Azerbaijani state, which treats all religions, including the Armenian-Gregorian Church, humanely, will soon liberate all occupied territories, create conditions for members of the Albanian-Udi community to worship in Albanian temples in those cities and villages, and thus eliminate historical injustice.
At the same time, in spite of influence and pressure of the Armenian Gregorian Church, misappropriation and falsification of the Albanian heritage for centuries, we declare our readiness to cooperate with the Armenian Gregorian Church and live together in the liberated territories for peace and humanity.”