Pray for Christians Suffering in Armenia
Armenia, historically Russian-held until the fall of the USSR, and its Artsakh (also known as Nagorno Karabakh) region in particular have been almost 100% Christian throughout history. In democratic Artsakh can be found a charming concentration of churches and monasteries, vineyards, sheep farms, and orchards.
Artsakh sits inside a triangle of surrounding large powers: Russia, Turkey, and Iran. It has had a longstanding territory dispute with neighboring heavily Muslim Azerbaijan, which receives assistance from Turkey. Azerbaijan is escalating attacks, and a recent offensive killed and displaced hundreds, including children. This might have aroused Russia’s supportive interference, but Russia is preoccupied with Ukraine.
The U.S. is similarly preoccupied, but USAID Administrator Samantha Power said on Sept. 25 that “very high-level discussions are taking place” about the appropriate American response. An agreement between Artsakh and Azerbaijan was reached on Sept. 20 for getting the power and water supply restored and the wounded moved to safety in Armenia through the Lachin corridor. The Russia-brokered cease-fire basically surrenders the lovely region to Azerbaijan, causing most of the 120,000 residents to want to flee. This exodus is a chilling reminder of the 1915 genocide of more than a million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, which then served Hitler as a model for his Holocaust.
Once “cleansed” of Christians, historic areas will be vulnerable, and so will precious artifacts. Already, one of the largest churches in the area has been shelled, numerous chapels and monasteries have been damaged or destroyed, and the “best-preserved city of the Hellenistic and Armenian civilizations of the Caucasus” has reportedly been struck repeatedly. This serves to “wipe out evidence of an Armenian Christian past,” according to one Armenian political scientist.
Pray that humanitarian relief channels will be respected and that Christian people and heritage sites will not be mistreated. Ask God to restrain the greed, violence, and territorial ambitions that cause proxy wars and generations of trauma.
Share your prayers for the Armenian believers below.
Submitted by Leah Farish, host of Conversation Balloons Podcast on Spotify, YouTube, and other major platforms. Photo Credit: sorsillo/Getty Images.
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