Azerbaijani Orthodoxy between the "three Roma". Mtskheta is the closest alternative...

15.03.24 19:02

It seems that Azerbaijan, or rather its Orthodox community, is becoming the epicentre of a global spiritual confrontation. And the fact that Azerbaijan itself is a relatively small country and the Orthodox community is also small by world standards, about 200,000-300,000 people, should not limit attention.


There is a struggle for ancient sacred symbols in the world. Azerbaijan is the land where one of the world's first Christian states - Caucasian Albania, or Aran - actually existed. It was also outside and independent of the Roman Empire.


In other words, Caucasian Albania itself does not fit into the "Roman-centred" world; moreover, its heir is the state of the Eurasian Turkic world, Azerbaijan. And it is no coincidence that three spiritual centres, each claiming to be the "true Rome" (i.e. unable to get rid of the "Eurocentric" and "Romeocentric" worldviews), have come together to control the Albanian heritage.


At present, Moscow, which positions itself spiritually as the "Third Rome" and the stronghold of conservative Orthodoxy, is opposed to Constantinople, or the "Second Rome", which also claims to be the centre of world Orthodoxy.


But the Patriarchate of Constantinople is becoming more and more liberal and "subservient" to Greek nationalism. Greek arrogance (which goes back to pagan times, when the ancient Greeks considered all peoples except the Hellenes to be "barbarians") has already been the cause of ecclesiastical schisms in the Balkans. It has long irritated the Arab, essentially Antiochian, Patriarchate and created an unhealthy situation in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where the majority of the faithful and priests are Arab but the bishops are mostly Greek. The question is whether the Orthodox of Azerbaijan need such an arrogant "Greek dictate"?


The Vatican, as the "first Rome" which claims to be a global religious centre, is clearly on the side of Constantinople. And each of the "Romes" is trying to use Echmiadzin for revenge and to establish control over Azerbaijani lands and shrines.


So far, the Orthodox of Azerbaijan have managed to preserve the maximum possible spiritual sovereignty in the current "situationio" without breaking ties with the world Orthodoxy. In particular, from the decision of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of 12 March 2024 it became known that Filaret (Tikhonov), protégé of the French citizen and Armenian by nationality Savva Tutunov, will not be Bishop of Baku. He was assigned another cathedra, Kolpashevskaya and Strizhevskaya, in the metropolis of Tomsk.


So far, the Armenian lobby has failed to gain control of the Baku and Azerbaijan dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, there is information that the secretary of the Baku diocese of the ROC, Archimandrite Alexis (Nikonorov), has decided to send him out of Azerbaijan.  The supporters of the most popular priest in Azerbaijan, Archimandrite Alexis (Nikonorov), have not yet managed to get him appointed as Bishop of Baku. But this is not surprising, given the hatred of the Armenian lobby, which cannot forgive him the historical truth about the spiritual heritage of the Albanian Church. Lobbyists for Armenian interests in the Moscow Patriarchate have "tried their best".


There is still a danger that pro-Armenian forces will do everything possible to bring to Baku an unwilling bishop who, unlike Father Alexy, will not prove the Albanian affiliation of the churches of Karabakh, but will side with them and obediently listen to their Dashnak curators. Time will tell if they will succeed.


Archimandrite Alexis, alienated from the Baku diocese, will soon leave Azerbaijan and go to Italy to be at the disposal of Metropolitan Nestor of Korsun and Western Europe, Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe.


The struggle for influence in the Orthodox community of Azerbaijan is taking place in the context of a global spiritual confrontation. The Black and White Telegram channel writes: "Moscow cannot be unaware that the first of the planned decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in response to the opening of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Turkey is its promotion in Azerbaijan.  Patriarch Bartholomew is one step away from establishing his diocese there. Archbishop Savva Tutunov, together with Archimandrite Alexis, runs the risk of "spilling the whole of Transcaucasia from the trough of the Moscow Patriarchate".


However, Azerbaijani patriots cannot be happy about this prospect because the centre of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is only formally located in the Phanar district of Istanbul (Second or New Rome). In reality, most of the congregation and "sponsors" (the rich Greek diaspora in the USA) of the Patriarch of Constantinople are aggressively anti-Turkish and in league with the Armenian diaspora on all key issues.


Moreover, Constantinople's claims to "spiritual authority" over the Christians of Azerbaijan are tacitly supported by the Vatican. And where the Vatican is, as is well known, there is its satellite, Echmiadzin. About the Vatican's interest in Azerbaijan, the well-known Russian "hurrah-patriotic" Russian church blogger Kirill Flotov writes directly in passing, "exposing" long-time Vatican supporter Leonid Sevastyanov in Moscow, calling him a "Vatican devil". It is also known that Leonid Sevastyanov's wife, Svetlana Kasyan, a rather talented opera singer of Yezidi origin, enjoys the patronage of Pope Francis. And the Yezidis are under the close "tutelage" of the "Armenian lobby", not to mention this lobby's links with the Vatican.


Here are extracts from the writings of Kirill Florov, who often has "first-hand" information, although in his usual extremist manner he "inflames" the situation:


"The Vatican agent Sevastyanov is blackmailing the Russian Church and Russia with the creation of the Azerbaijani-Albanian-Udin Diocese of the Constantinople Patriarchate in case of the creation of the Turkish Exarchate of the Russian Church.

In reality, the situation is just the opposite.

Phanar will intervene in Azerbaijan if the Russian Church is afraid and does not create the Turkish Exarchate.

Then it will get both war and shame.

The ultimatum of the "Vatican devil" to the Russian Church was superimposed by the fact that the Synod cancelled the sending of Bishop Filret (Tikhonov) to Azerbaijan and sent him to the Tomsk region.

Were they afraid of the Vatican-Phanarian ultimatum?

I do not want to think so, but the Vatican devil Lenka (Sevastyanov, ed.) raised the dilemma of "Prioghin's bishop" against Metropolitan Leonid, and someone lobbied for this nonsense among the priesthood and the state leadership.

But the story is not over.

There is a war going on between the Vatican and the Phanar.

That is why the Turkish Exarchate is necessary; the policy of unilateral concessions is a failure. The Exarch should be a fighter; Metropolitan Leonid is ideal".


It should be remembered that Metropolitan Leonid (Gorbachev) mentioned here is a long-time friend of the Armenian lobby and of Echmiadzin, a former administrator of the Yerevan and Armenian diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Thus, while the Third Rome on the one hand and the Second and the First on the other are struggling for spiritual power over the Christians of Azerbaijan, Echmiadzin and the Armenian lobby are "interfering" in this struggle from all sides and every crevice. Echmiadzin is not averse to simultaneously "shitting" and Turkey with the so-called "Turkish Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church", which in fact will be an anti-Turkish sabotage of the Armenian lobby.


This means that the Orthodox Azerbaijanis are in a difficult position. They are already being "divided" without their opinion being asked.


But it should be remembered that besides the first two "Romans" and the "Third Rome" - Moscow, there was a spiritual centre as close as possible to Caucasian Albania and its Christians. This is Mtskheta - the spiritual centre of the Georgian people and the Georgian Orthodox Church.


In fact, for the Albanian Christians, Mtskheta was as holy a city as their spiritual centres - Gabala, Derbent and Barda. And today the Georgian Orthodox Church is an "island of Christian conservatism" in the Orthodox world, no less "traditional" than Moscow. Georgia is not on good terms with the Patriarchate of Constantinople either - the Phanar is "interfering" in occupied Abkhazia, where it has created the so-called "Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia", supported by some local Armenians. 


Spiritual union with Georgia is the most natural thing for the Christians of Azerbaijan. As far as Georgia is concerned, support for the Christians of Azerbaijan will also make it possible to remove all the issues surrounding David Gareji, which the Armenian provocateurs are playing on.


And most importantly, Echmiadzin is today the most consistent and insidious enemy of the Georgian Orthodox Church, claiming hundreds of Georgian churches. Here, Georgia and Azerbaijan are simply obliged to coordinate their actions to prevent the claims of 'ancient' forgers.


Sooner or later, the question of the revival of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Caucasian Albania will arise. Historically, it is almost inevitable. According to the canons of Orthodoxy, even a revived local church must have a "mother church" from among those currently active, which will restore the apostolic succession of the episcopate of the revived local church.


Now the question of who will be the "mother church" for the revived Albanian Catholicosate is being presented as a choice between conservative Moscow and liberal Constantinople, with the Vatican on its side. And everywhere here Echmiadzin, a clear enemy of the revival of the Autocephalous Church of Caucasian Albania and the Orthodox Christians of Azerbaijan, has "access".


The Orthodox of Azerbaijan, like the majority of the country's citizens, adhere to conservative values, so for them Moscow, which has recently turned its face towards the Turks, is spiritually closer to Constantinople, which is infected with Greek nationalism and Hellenic arrogance. But the conservative and ancient spiritual centre of Orthodoxy is also the Georgian Orthodox Church, i.e. Mtskheta, historically linked to the Turkic world, which is confirmed in the same chronicles "Kartlis Tskhovreba".


Unfortunately, even in Georgia today, few people know that the spiritual connection between the Christians of Azerbaijan and Georgia and the Turkic world in general has a long history. Meanwhile, the Turkic world has acted as a "natural ally" of the Georgian Orthodox Church three times in history, and in two out of three cases it was Turkic help that saved Orthodoxy in Georgia.


The first time was when the Armenians, with the help of the Persian Sassanid Empire, imposed their spiritual monophysical oppression on Georgia at the beginning of the 7th century. Incidentally, it was the Armenian Catholicos Abram who cursed Orthodox Georgia, but then the Khazars, having conquered Tbilisi, cleansed it of the Monophysites.


The second time the Turks helped Orthodoxy in Georgia was at the end of the 8th century, when iconoclasm was established in the Roman (Byzantine) Empire. As a result, the Mtskheta Catholicosate in Georgia remained the last outpost of Orthodoxy in the East. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Western Georgia was politically subordinate to the Roman Empire, making the imposition of iconoclasm inevitable. However, the support of the Khazar Kaganate for the first Abkhazian (West Georgian) king Leon II (758-798), the maternal grandson of the Khazar Kagan, helped to defend the independence of West Georgia from Roman (Byzantine) rule. With Abkhazia, thanks to the Khazar Khaganate, the "gathering" of Georgian lands began, and the capital of the kingdom became the city of Kutaisi. With the help of the Khazars, the purity of Orthodoxy was preserved in western Georgia and, most importantly, divine services were translated from the previously dominant Greek into Georgian. As a result, the spiritual centre for the inhabitants of Western Georgia was not Constantinople, which had fallen into iconoclasm, but Orthodox Mtskheta, and the spiritual and then political unification of Georgia and the Georgian people began. 


And for the third time in history, the Kipchak Turks helped Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church at the beginning of the 12th century under David Aghmashenebeli (David IV the Builder). And what is important here is not only the reunification of Tbilisi with Georgia, but, from a spiritual point of view, the simultaneous liberation from the Armenian monophysite spiritual yoke of Kvemo Kartli and Lori (where the Armenians once created the so-called "Tashir-Dzoraget Kingdom").


How the Turks helped the Georgian Orthodox Church needs further study and purification from the Turkophobic myths imposed from outside. Today it is time for Orthodox Georgia to help the Christians of Azerbaijan and the Turkic world to resist the spiritual aggression of Echmiadzin.


George Kvinitadze

Read: 541

Write comment

(In their comments, readers should avoid expressing religious, racial and national discrimination, not use offensive and derogatory expressions, as well as appeals that are contrary to the law)

You can enter 512 characters

News feed