‘Servants, followers of Armenian Church must have unrestricted access to Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Church’ – MFA
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 8, ARMENPRESS. Alongside with the physical damage inflicted upon Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Church, Azerbaijan does not stop attempts to distort the Armenian identity of the church, which is carried out by changing the architectural look of the church under the pretext of renovation, Armenian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan said in a statement on the occasion of the anniversary of the double bombing of the Cathedral by the Azerbaijani armed forces.
“During the military aggression unleashed against Artsakh and its people on October 8, 2020, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched air strikes twice on Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Church with high-precision weapons, causing significant damages to the latter. Shortly after the November 9 trilateral statement the same church was vandalized and desecrated”, Vahan Hunanyan said.
According to him, the deliberate bombing of the church is not only a criminal act to be condemned by the international law, but also is a symbolic discovery of intentions, as it is an obvious demonstration of the policy of Azerbaijan to eliminate any trace of Armenian presence in the territory of Artsakh.
“A year after the aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh, the fate of nearly 1500 historical-cultural heritage and worship sites, as well as thousands of museum exhibits in the territories of Artsakh, which came under the Azerbaijani control, remains uncertain and in danger. There are numerous cases proving the deliberate destructions and vandalism of Armenian churches, cultural and other religious monuments by the Azerbaijani armed forces. Moreover, alongside with their physical destruction, we witness Azerbaijan’s consistent attempts to falsify historical facts and distort the identity of the Armenian monuments”, he said.
Hunanyan says that it’s not accidental that Azerbaijan continues blocking or restricting as much as possible the access of the UNESCO expert mission to the endangered Armenian cultural heritage sites, trying to hide its war crimes.
“The atrocities against historical-cultural monuments and worship sites, which are the peoples’ cultural and religious heritage, grossly violate the international law, are against the universal values and must be strongly condemned. Shushi’s Holy Savior Cathedral is one of the key centers of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Artsakh, and the servants and followers of the Armenian Church must have an unrestricted access to that site of worship”, the MFA spokesperson said.
Editing and Translating by Aneta Harutyunyan