Albanian Church of Azerbaijan celebrates its 1700th anniversary

Baku, August 5, 2013

The festive events dedicated to the 1700th anniversary of the official introduction of Christianity by the Caucasian Albania and the 10th anniversary of restoration of the Albanian-Udi Church in Azerbaijan took place in the village of Nij in the Gabala district of the republic.


"The Albanian Church over 170 years ago was given to the Echmiadzin in Armenia and only after Azerbaijan had become independent, in 2003, did the Udins make steps for obtaining of the state registration in Azerbaijan and restoration of Churches where the first services then began," said the head of the Albanian-Udi Christian community Robert Mobili at the celebrations in the Church of St Elisei.

According to him, in 2003, one of the most ancient Churches of Caucasus --in the village of Kish of the Shaki district--was restored, and in 2006 one of three Churches in the village of Nij--Chotari Church of St Elisei--was restored and given for use of the parishioners. According to the head of the community, there are also other Churches in the village: Gyoy and Bulun Churches.

"In order to preserve their language, culture and adherence to the Albanian tradition, the Udins refused to go to the church given by the Russian Tsar to the Echmiadzin, and continued to celebrate services at their homes. During the Soviet period the process of worship was also slowed down because of various sorts of pressure from the government.

Finally, when Azerbaijan became independent, the Udins obtained a certain degree of restoration in this field. Thus, historical justice triumphed," noted R. Mobili.

According to him, the territory of the republic of Azerbaijan is the historical motherland of the Udins who were one of the first peoples on the Caucasus to accept Christianity.

"The Albanian tsar Urnayr declared Christianity the official religion in 313 and thus Christianity was formed on the Azerbaijani territories. Today, the Udins are considered to be the heirs of the rich religious and cultural heritage of the Albanian Apostolic Autocephalous Church," told R. Mobili.


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