Azerbaijan threatens to expel Armenian priests from Dadivank

On April 2, 2023, the chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan, Mubariz Gurbanli, at a meeting with journalists, said that the Armenian monks of Dadivank should leave the complex. It should be noted that the Azerbaijani side in its statement calls Dadivank Khudaveng, which is essentially a distorted form of another Armenian name for the monastery - Khutavank, /4097.htm ). Both names Khutavank (for the monastery) and Khutavan (for the village near the monastery) are associated with the area where they are located, since “khut” in Armenian means “hill”, that is, “monastery located on a hill” (for more details see: The monastic complex of Dadivank. General information ).

“I’m sure they will leave from there. Khudaveng Monastery is a monument belonging to Caucasian Albania. Sooner or later, it will be managed by the Albanian-Udi religious community. Armenians have nothing to do with this place," Gurbanli said ( ).

It should be noted that the false propaganda of Albanianization is not the first case of Azerbaijani eloquence around Dadivank. Two years ago, the visit of representatives of the Udi religious community to Dadivank on May 5, 2021, which became an instrument of Azerbaijani politics, was discussed on the academic platform "Monitoring the Cultural Heritage of Artsakh". During the last visit, the Armenian monastery complex was again declared Albanian, and the khachkars and inscriptions were announced falsified: allegedly inserted into the walls in modern times (for more details, see: Azerbaijan Claims that Dadivank Monastery Belongs to Udi Cultural Heritage ).

On May 2, 2023, on the occasion of the proclamation of Dadivank as Udi and in order to ensure the further service of the Armenian clergy at that monastery, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin issued a statement that “Our clergy continue their spiritual service in Dadivank, thanks to the noble mission of Russian peacekeepers, which ensures security monastery." As for the false statements that Dadivank is Albanian, there is an irrefutable historical fact that the monastery was originally Armenian and had nothing to do with the Albanian church, and even more so with the current newly founded Albanian-Udi religious community” ( ).

You can find reliable information confirming the fact that Dadivank Monastery is historically Armenian in the following articles:

Our response

We would like to recall that in 2021, The Hague International Court of Justice condemned the desecration of Armenian churches by a Decree of December 7: “Azerbaijan is obliged to take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration committed against the Armenian cultural heritage...” (see: International Court of Justice, Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Armenia v. Azerbaijan), 7 December 2021, No. 2021/34).


And according to PACE Resolution 2583, the denial of the fact of Armenian cultural values and their belonging to Albanians was recognized as an "Azerbaijani fiction" (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Humanitarian consequences of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan / Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Resolution 2391 (2021), article 18.4).

The change in the function of churches violates the fundamental cultural right of the Armenian community to preserve religious beliefs, worship and perform religious and rituals, as defined by Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The act of changing the function of cultural heritage also violates the provisions of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Article 11 of which requires states to respect the values ​​of intangible heritage, regardless of their origin and function.

The Fribourg Declaration of Cultural Rights of 2007 also defines such a right, considering cultural rights as an opportunity for self-expression, the use of various cultural resources and knowledge. Among them, the 2005 Faro Convention on Cultural Heritage for the Society also contains provisions on the right to cultural heritage.

Azerbaijan also violates the provisions of the conventions "On the Protection of Cultural Diversity" (2001) and "On the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions" (2005), to which it is a party, as well as the 1965 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.