Azerbaijan Claims that Dadivank Monastery Belongs to Udi Cultural Heritage
On May 5, 2021 a video reportage appeared online telling that the Christian representatives of Udi people of Azerbaijan are going to celebrate the Holy day of Resurrection (Easter) and to preach Easter sermon for the first time in the last 30 years of Armenian occupation. In that video Dadivank is named Khudaveng as “real” name of the Monastery. Actually, Khudaveng is a Persificated version for Khutavank - the Armenian popular name of the Monastery (“khut” means “hill”, so Khutavank is a “church located on hill”). The spiritual leader of the Udis says that Khudaveng is their native church complex and they have to develop that appointing permanent church ministers.
One of participants of the festival told: “Let the Azerbaijani adhan sound here forever!” According to that video, the Caucasian Albanian church complex Khudaveng was founded in the 6th-7th centuries AD and there are many evidences of the Medieval Azerbaijan culture. The narrator also added that, allegedly, there are facts and historical texts telling about the Turkic request on erecting that spiritual complex. The reportage tells that after occupation Armenians turned the monastery into their own, in order to remove all the traces of Azerbaijan culture; they erased inscriptions and frescos depicting Arzukhatun with her sons. It’s also noted, that the khachqars of Dadivank are contemporary and have been produced recently at the workshop next to the monastery and inserted into the walls by Armenians. Azerbaijan is planning to start a project for the recovery and restoration of the heritage of Azeri culture in Kalbajar (video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9oYg9erjTM )․
Actually, Dadivank Monastery was the religious center of the Vakhtangyans’ Princedom in the Principality of Upper Khachen of Artsakh and belonged to the same-named eparchy.
In Dadivank none of its components (architectural design, sculpture, khachkars and frescos) refer to “Caucasian Albanian”, “Udi” and “non-Armenian” culture. Except 100 Armenian inscriptions of Dadivank monastery that are dating back to the 12-17th centuries AD, there is no any word in other language or non-Armenian letter either. The khachkars of Dadivank that are inserted into the walls are much older than the buildings. The latest khachkars of Dadivank refer to the 17th century AD.
All Azerbaijan is doing today – declaring Dadivank as Caucasian Albanian, or Udi, and appointing an Udi priest,– is nothing than the fact of “stealing” the religious and cultural heritage from the inheritors of the creators and the obvious attempt of the Cultural Genocide.
As for the “Turkic request”, the main church of Dadivank monastery according to the long inscription on the Southern wall was built in 1214 by Arzukhatun princess in the memory of her deceased husband and two sons. The main purpose of the construction of the church becomes clear from the text: “…My elder son Hasan was killed for the Christian faith in the war against Turks, and my younger son passed away to Christ leaving his miserable mother in inconsolable mourning…” That’s how the Azeri propaganda is presenting the foundation of church devoted to the martyred son as “built on Turkic request”.
Renaming the heritage, erasing the traces of identity
According to the Second Protocol to The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1999), Article 2, point C “any alteration to, or change of use of, cultural property which is intended to conceal or destroy cultural, historical or scientific evidence” is prohibited. And the general provisions of UNESCO and ICOMOS are prohibiting any external or internal changes of forms, components, functions of the Cultural object, that can contradict the World main principles of identity, integrity, cultural value and uniqueness of the Heritage site.