The Rape Of Nij Church’s Armenian Identity


24 Feb 05

A daily Azg reader responded to Feb. 23 article by Agence France
Presse titled “Christian Minority in Azerbaijan Gets Rid of Armenian
Eyesore” posted in our website and dealing with the Udi minority of
Azerbaijan who destroys Armenian monuments of the country in order not
to be likened to Azerbaijan’s enemy – the Armenians. Below we present
the reader’s letter to Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise’s director
whose company undertook restoration of Armenian church in village of

Dear Mr. Alf Henry Rasmussen,

I would like to express my deepest condemns regarding the cultural
vandalism against the Armenian church in Nij which was being restored
by Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise. This act of Azerbaijan’s
infamous policy of cultural genocide against the Armenian heritage is
indirectly and, I hope, unwillingly sponsored by the Norwegian

As Agence France Presse reports, during the reconstruction, the
Armenian identity of the church has been eliminated.

As far as Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise is the sponsor of the
reconstruction, it should have prohibited cultural vandalism against
the Armenian heritage while completing the mission.

Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise has indirectly supported cultural
genocide against the Armenian heritage in present-day Azerbaijan
before too. The Research on Armenian Architecture (RAA) had warned
about the ridiculousnessof this reconstruction in Azerbaijan before
the Armenian inscriptions were wiped off. Particularly speaking of
Sourb Asdvadzadzin of Kish, RAA had expressed its deep concern
regarding the fact that the Norwegian scholars have commenced
collaboration with their Azerbaijani colleagues since 2000 aiming at
the restoration of the Armenian St. Yeghishe (also known as Sourb
Asdvadzadzin, i.e. Holy Virgin) Church of Kish Village. Being unaware
of the historical past of the region in general, and the history of
the village in particular, and without further investigation into the
historical sources, the Norwegians take for granted the false theories
of the Azerbaijani scholars and keep alleging that the church is a
monument of Christian Albanian culture, i.e. it was created by the
Christian ancestors of the present-day Azerbaijani people

As your website
the church in Kish functioning as a museum (now) after being
reconstructed by your organization.

After the government-planned annihilation of tens of thousands of
Armenian stone-crosses in Jugha, Nakhijevan (situated in present-day
Azerbaijan), Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise should have realized
the danger of reconstructing Albanian Christian monuments in

I hope Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise will try its best to correct
its mistakes: the Armenian inscriptions should be put back, otherwise
be kept in a safe place, until the Azerbaijani society stops rewriting
the history. The pictures of the Armenian inscriptions (before and
after being scrapped off)should be publicized. The reality for the
church of Kish has to be published and Norwegian Humanitarian
Enterprise should stop its cultural reconstruction plans in a country
that wants to eliminate every single trait of the Armenian heritage in
its territory.

Sincerely, Simon Maghakyan, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor
Society; President of Sigma Phi Chapter Littleton, Colorado, USA