Tbilisi cathedral hosts Armenian, Azerbaijani clergy in interfaith vigil as fighting in Karabakh continues

Agenda, Georgia
Oct 19 2020

A Tbilisi cathedral hosted an interfaith vigil involving Armenian and Azerbaijani clergy last week as an effort for "peace and reconciliation" amid armed conflict between the two countries in the Karabakh region.

At the Peace Cathedral, located on Kedia Street in the Georgian capital, Yezidi, Muslim and Christian clergy came together to not only observe the vigil but also pledge to begin daily prayers at the church "until the war is over".

In the display of joint wishes for peace Father Narek Kushian of the Armenian community and his Azerbaijani counterpart Sheikh Mirtag Asadov joined Malkhaz Songulashvili, the Metropolitan Bishop of Tbilisi, who led the service. Yezidi Akhtiar of Georgia, Dimitri Pirbari, was also part of the vigil while bishops Rusudan Gotziridze and Ilia Osephashvili joined as well.

[W]e call all churches, synagogues, mosques, temples to offer prayers for peace and reconciliation between Armenia and Azerbaijan every Saturday at 19:00 (Tbilisi time) until the war is over."

The faithful and clergy should feel free to offer their prayers either publicly or privately upon their convenience. Peace and reconciliation shall not have any other alternatives," a joint statement by the community representatives said.

The representatives of the two clergies were also joined by their faithful as the vigil involved reading of scriptures from the Gospel and the Quran, while prayers were heard in Georgian, Armenian, Yezidi and Arabic.

Armenian and Azerbaijani communities have lived side-by-side in Tbilisi for centuries, with around 233,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis and 168,000 ethnic Armenians who call the capital city their home keeping calm as inter-ethnic confrontations were observed in other cities around the world on the backdrop of the war.

The vigil at the Peace Cathedral came on the backdrop of repeated armed clashes in the Karabakh region, following the start of hostilities in mid-September. Latest ceasefire violations in the region were reported on Sunday, after previous truce efforts failed.


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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS