There has been no pilgrimage to Dadivank since May. The Azerbaijanis hinder it, first reasoning by pandemics, later by rains and landslides.
“But in reality they were ordinary obstacles. Now, as a result of the meetings of the Patriarch of All Russia, the Catholicos of All Armenians, and the Azerbaijani spiritual leader, it was decided that people could go on a pilgrimage to Dadivank,” says Lusine Gharakhanyan, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Minister of Education and Science.
The spiritual leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Moscow on October 13. This is the 17th such meeting since 1988. According to the head of the Artsakh Diocese accompanying the Catholicos in Moscow, the meeting had positive signals, however, time will show the results.
“The future will show whether the pilgrimages will be resumed or not, but we presented that those pilgrimages are important. At the moment we have 6 servants in Dadivank.
The connection with them is permanent, says the head of the Artsakh Diocese. The clergy have no problem, there are psychological pressures on different occasions, such as showing gestures, music, shouting, but the Russian side urges them not to do such things, the psychological state of the Armenian servants is good, we pass them food, whatever they need once a week,” says Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese.
Pilgrimages should be increased not only in Dadivank, but also in other Armenian religious structures, Artsakh Minister of Education and Science Lusine Gharakhanyan believes.
“The issue of organizing pilgrimages not only to Dadivank, but also to all the churches that are occupied, for example, to Shushi’s St. Ghazanchetsots Church, why not?” Lusine Gharakhanyan says.
In a conversation with ‘Lurer’, the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, singled out five churches where the organization of pilgrimages is important.
“It is Gtchavank of Hadrut region, it is the church of Hadrut city, Tsitsernavank, Ghazanchetsots, Dadivank,” says Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan.
It is still difficult to say when it will be a reality. Anyway, it is necessary to insist, to say, to raise the issue, in order to keep it on the agenda. The Artsakh Ministry monitors the vandalized monuments, but only on the basis of videos and photos that appeared on the Internet, Gharakhanyan says. There is a need to set up a system monitoring network, as there are many cases of vandalism.
“The work of ‘restoration’ of Ghazanchetsots in Shushi is obvious. It is enigmatic, we do not know what is happening, probably some distorted structure, the Green Hour Church, the monument to Nelson Stepanyan, the Arthur Mkrtchyan Museum in Hadrut, Togh's Melikian Palace. The church of Jrakan is so clean that there is not even a stone, not even a stone left from the church of Mataghis,” Lusine Gharakhanyan says.
By the way, at the meeting of the leaders of the three countries, the Catholicos of All Armenians offered to include Armenian architects in the restoration of Ghazanchetsots, but the proposal was rejected. Many people, especially young people, are waiting for the resumption of pilgrimages to Dadivank, the Minister said, adding that some young people get married during the pilgrimage to Dadivank.