His Holiness Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians
His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia
Our homeland and entire nation emerged wounded from the disastrous 44-day war and while with the forces of the entire nation we prepared to recover from the consequences of the existential war, Azerbaijan’s authorities unfurled a new challenge before our people, transferring the war of genocide to the realm of genocide of spiritual culture.
Throughout the years of Soviet rule, Azerbaijan waged an indirect campaign to destroy the Armenian churches and monuments in Nakhichevan, leading to the 2005 mass destruction of Armenian khachkars [cross stones] in Julfa.
Today, however, the genocide of cultural heritage is elevated to an official level. Last year’s ruling in the court of The Hague, warning the Azerbaijani authorities to spare the monuments of Armenian spiritual culture in the territories under their control, has led the latter to more cunning measures. From President Ilham Aliyev to Minister of Culture Anar Karimov, they have launched a campaign to re-label the monuments of Armenian spiritual culture, and concealing their true identities, attribute them to the Udi and Caucasian Albanian minorities.
This act is a classic distortion of history and reveals a new challenge for our nation to commence not only a pan-Armenian but a global battle urgently, as time is working against us.