Friday, April 30, 2010

Recent reports in several Armenian news services told of Georgians destroying an old Armenian church (or converting it into a Georgian church) in Akhaltsikhe, a town in an Armenian region of southern Georgia, located not far from the border with Turkey.

A film director told me today that he thought it was the St. Nshan church, which the locals call Vardanants. Although it could be a different church, as this article says the name of the church is St. Khach, the point remains that the Georgians are again destroying an Armenian church.

The director told about his trip to Akhaltsikhe last year, and what he saw. “One thing the Georgians do is remove the altar of Armenian churches, and then say they’re Georgian churches, as Georgians don’t have altars in their churches. But what I heard when I was in Akhaltsikhe was amazing. The Georgians asked an old woman who was cleaning around an Armenian church, ‘Who is paying you to do this? You shouldn’t be here, this isn’t an Armenian church’ to which the woman said that she wasn’t being paid, that God had told her to do it. Later that day, I saw a group of Georgians standing around the Armenian church. They asked why I, an Armenian, was interested in a Georgian church. I told them it was an Armenian church, and pointed at the Armenian script on the wall.

“What did they answer? That the script wasn’t Armenian, but ‘old Georgian.’ I think they’re taking lessons from the Azeris on how to change history.”

Such distortion of history isn’t new for the Georgians. In Soviet times, an Armenian university student was touring through Georgia with several non-Armenian students. Approaching an Armenian church, the guide pointed at the Armenian script on the wall, then said it was “an unknown, ancient language, which no one has been able to understand.” The Armenian, now a well known physicist, told us, “I started to read the Armenian script, putting the guide into shock. She hurried us away from the church, talking like a nervous crow as she walked…”

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