Following the military invasion of September 19-20, 2023, Azerbaijan occupied the entire territory of Artsakh. The notable scientific, educational and spiritual centers of medieval Artsakh, the monastic complexes of Gandzasar and Amaras, which had pan-Armenian significance for centuries, also came under Azerbaijani control.
Baku officials immediately targeted the Gandzasar and Amaras monastic complexes, declaring that the Azerbaijani side had “liberated” the famous Aghvan shrines and pilgrimage sites. After the dissemination of this information, the Azerbaijani propaganda machine began to widely disseminate anti-scientific and false information, obviously of a propagandist type, about the monasteries. The Ministry of Culture was the first to do so, after which the media world, with its various representatives and so-called experts, took up the matter.
On October 6, 2023, an extensive video program was presented on the Baku TV channel, the target of which was the monastic complexes of Gandzasar, Amaras and Dadivank. In particular, it was announced that after the “liberation” of the mentioned monasteries, the scientific community around the world, and especially historians, would have the opportunity to see and see the fake Armenian on site.
However, in this video, the statements of the Baku diocesan secretary of the official Russian Orthodox Church, Venerable Alexiy Nikonorov, cause obvious confusion. The latter, speaking about the monastic complexes of Gandzasar and Amaras, notes that they are the best examples of Caucasian Aghvank architecture and have always been spiritual and cultural centers of the Caucasian Aghvank. No word on the actual affiliation of the monasteries. The Russian clergyman, obviously distorting and changing historical facts, also makes another extremely intolerant statement, according to which “those who felt themselves lords and masters there could not fill these monasteries with spiritual and religious life for 30 years , but they were only able to produce 3-star Gandzasar brandy. Such a blatantly intolerant and extremist statement raises many questions addressed to the Russian Orthodox Church itself. Rizvan Huseinov and Ulvia Hajiyeva put forward more dangerous theses, according to which the external appearance and decoration of the monastic complexes of Gandzasar and Amaras were significantly transformed by the Armenians over the past 200 years, when these monasteries were transferred to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which was to hide the fact that the monasteries were monasteries. The Baku side emphasized that it had documented all these changes and falsifications. It was also noted that Azerbaijani researchers now have the opportunity to work there.
Such statements pose a clear threat to the existence of monastic complexes, because under the propaganda of disarmenianization, the real architecture of these monasteries can be distorted, hundreds of Armenian inscriptions, crosses and cross compositions can be erased.