Azerbaijanis block Armenian pilgrims from visiting Dadivank

YEREVAN — Dadivank is still unable to receive Armenian pilgrims and it is unclear when pilgrims will be able to attend the liturgy at the old monastery. The Primate of Artsakh Diocese, Archbishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, told us that five Armenian clerics continue to remain isolated in Dadivank: “Our five clerics are still there. Only pilgrims have not been able to enter since May. The clergy is there. They serve worthily, according to what is becoming.

The Primate is in contact with the five men, in spirit and by telephone. There are also several dozen Russian peacekeepers with them in the Dadivank region. Bishop Abrahamyan exclaimed, “They are our servants. The monks are in their monastic life. When it is necessary to visit Yerevan or Stepanakert, we allow it. They come, do their work and come back, but they are always at their place of service. They have no contact with Azerbaijanis. The clergy carries out all its activities with the peacekeepers.

He said the purpose of clergy is to pray, lead services and celebrate liturgies. He remembers that at one time pilgrims used to visit the monastery, and baptisms and blessings were performed.

Father Vrtanes does not know the reasons for banning the entry of pilgrims. Armenian pilgrims, for example, can visit the monastery of Amaras accompanied by blue helmets. Father Vrtanes noted that Amaras is not a no-go area. It is possible to enter with blue helmets and there is a liturgy every Sunday, unlike Dadivank which is not considered part of the territory of Artsakh at the moment.

He said: ‘They don’t allow it and that’s it, for no reason. They don’t say anything. The blue helmets are on the territory of the monastery. They live together. Of course, the rooms are different. They are separate: they are military, while ecclesiastics perform spiritual service. What the Azerbaijani side thinks is a side issue. We do what we have to do.

Tensions are periodically observed on the borders of Armenia and Artsakh, and unfortunately, peaceful inhabitants are also killed. Azerbaijanis have not changed their aggressive behavior. Armenian clerics, however, do not lose their optimism.

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