On October 24, 2023, on the eve of Christmas, the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Baku organized a visit of religious representatives of Christian religious communities and various Christian organizations operating in Baku to the churches of the Holy Mary of Tsakur and Saint Hovhannes of Togh in the occupied region of Hadrut. The visit was widely covered by various Azerbaijani news services.
In the videos released about the visit, it is said that after the liberation of Artsakh from Armenian occupation, representatives of the Christian community had the opportunity to visit churches and pray there. As Elchin Pashaev, preacher of the religious organization “Word of Life”, mentioned in his interview, the visit was initiated by them and by representatives of other Christian organizations. As part of this visit, Baku’s official propaganda also mentioned the fact that the churches of Saint Mary of Tsakur and Saint-Hovhannes of Togh are aghvans.
Armenian churches were also visited in Baku Bible Society”, “Evangelical Christian Baptist”, “Evangelical-Lutheran Salvation”, “Seventh-day Adventists”, “Prefecture of the Catholic Church of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “Orthodox Russians of Azerbaijan”, “Church d’Alban-Udi” and others, as well as Muslim representatives of religious organizations. Representatives of various unknown and generally incomprehensible religious organizations talk about religious and national tolerance.
We are talking about tolerance in a country that has destroyed, desecrated, modified and damaged hundreds of Armenian churches, chapels, monasteries, crosses and khachkars thanks to determined state policy. A country whose soldiers, during and after the 2020 war, cynically published various videos showing how they break and desecrate Armenian khachkars and crosses, how they make Muslim prayers heard from Armenian churches, speaks of religious and national tolerance.
A country that twice bombed the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi and is currently trying to transform it under the name “restoration” speaks of religious tolerance. The country whose soldiers blew up the Green Hour church in Shushi talks about tolerance and, under the guise of “restoration”, they are trying to change it.