In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, His Beatitude, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Abp. Nourhan Manougian has emphasized the importance of protection of Holy shrines in Artsakh and asks to consider the issue in the next negotiations to include them within the border of Artsakh in the final agreement.
The letter reads:
We greet you from the Holy City of Jerusalem; in the meantime, we send you and the Russian people blessings and prayers from the Dominical Holy Places of the Holy Land.
We also express our gratitude to you for mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan to sign the ceasefire declaration after 44-days of atrocious war that terrorized both countries.
Mr. President, the new signed ceasefire declaration would open a new reality for Armenians in Artsakh and the Armenian people in general. Regretfully to mention, that after Armenians surrender some regions, the declaration leaves unprotected and to the mercy of Azerbaijanis all historical Armenian Holy shrines, monasteries, cemeteries, etc., that were erected centuries ago, would be desecrated or destroyed. Today there are evidences that such vandalism have already begun by the Azerbaijanis.
We believe that the protection of those Holy shrines should be mandatory. Therefore, we appeal to you to consider this important issue in the next negotiations to include them within the border of Artsakh in the final agreement.
Furthermore, from historic Artsakh, regions, namely Hatrut and Shoushi, the latter being a historical center of Armenian culture, as a result of the war, they are left under the domination of Azerbaijan. We ask you to have at least those two regions be returned and be part of today’s independent Artsakh, so that delocalized and dislodged refugees could return to their homeland and start flourishing in every way possible.
Your Excellency, Mr. President, being years in office, you have proven to be one of the prominent and influential leaders of the world, as a just, humane and peace-loving Christian. This commendable characteristic personality of yours encouraged us to write to you with hope that you would not discard or ignore our request.
We are confident that due to the brotherly relationship between the Russian Orthodox and the Armenian Apostolic Churches because for the last 15 years, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has always welcomed the Russian official delegation, providing them a special area in the Armenian section in the Holy Sepulcher Church, to participate the Holy Fire ceremony on Holy Saturday. Thus, after the ceremony, the delegation would carry the Holy Fire Torch to Moscow for blessing and spiritual renewal of the Russian faithful.
We pray for your health and success in all your God-pleasing endeavors. We also pray for the wellbeing of Russian people.
Abp. Nourhan Manougian
Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem