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Kristine Aghalaryan

Expert Warns Akhaltska Armenian Catholic Church in Danger

Samvel Karapetyan, an expert on the issue of Armenian cultural monuments and their preservation, stated today that the most effective means to preserve such sites would be to pinish the violators. He pointed to the demolition of the Holy Cross Church of the Revelation in Akhaltska, Georgia, as the latest victim in the Georgian policy of taking over Armenian churches under the name of renovation. The church once operated as an Armenian Catholic house of worship. Presently, Mr. Karapetyan said that the church had just undergone cleaning work but that a number of inscribed stone crosses had been removed. "The Georgians leave no Armenian traces in the churches they seize. All traces of the original owners are erased. It’s not that fanciful to predict a similar fate for the Holy Cross Church," he declared. He added that the Armenian community was under a variety of pressures in Akhaltska and couldn’t effectively raise the voice in protest. "The national backbone in Akhaltska has been broken," Mr. Karapetyan argued. The architecture specialist also expressed criticism towards the Mother See at Etchmiadzin for not paying adequate attention to the matter. "For many centuries, Etchmiadzin neglected the Armenian Catholic churches and their flocks. Up till recently, the Holy See called them Franks, not Armenians," he said.