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18513Georgians Claim More Armenian Monuments

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Sep 19, 2013
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      September 18th, 2013
      Georgians Claim More Armenian Monuments

      YEREVAN (Hetq.am)—Father Hakob Sahakyan, who serves as the Spiritual
      Director of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Akhaltskha, has told
      Hetq.am that the Georgian Orthodox Church has appropriated an Armenian
      church in the village of Damala as one of its own.

      Damala is an Armenian populated village in the region of Aspintza, Georgia.

      Father Hakob adds that the Georgian Church has also appropriated two
      Armenian chapels, locally known as the Brother and Sister Chapels,
      located in the southwestern corner of Akhaltskha.

      Local Armenians have contacted Hetq, claiming that Georgian priests have
      started to organize pilgrimages to the two chapels where religious rites
      are held.

      “Up till now, only Armenians visited these chapels, never Georgians. I
      don’t know how they are claiming the chapels as their own,” Father Hakob
      told Hetq.

      The priest says there are many artifacts remaining in the chapels
      attesting to their Armenian origins.

      Father Hakob says that Armenians always visit the Damala Monastery to
      celebrate the holiday of their village.

      In his book dedicated to Armenian architectural monuments in Javakhk,
      Samvel Karapetyan writes that the Damala Monastery dates to the 10th and
      11th centuries and that the area is dotted with gravestones typical of
      the 15th-17th centuries.

      Father Hakob has written to the Armenian Ministry of Culture on the
      matter, and proposes that a research team be sent to the area.

      He has also written to the Georgian government but has received no response.

      Hakob Simonyan, who heads the Armenian Ministry of Culture’s
      Historical-Cultural Inheritance Research Center, confesses that they
      have no archival evidence as to whether the two chapels are Armenian or not.

      “We have to go to the site and examine the structures to see what
      similarities or differences exist between Armenian and Georgian
      churches,” noted Simonyan.