In Karabakh, farewell to the Armenian monastery of Dadivank

Dadivank (Azerbaijan) (AFP) - They come by the dozen, collected and often in tears.Three days before its handover to Azerbaijan provided for by the ceasefire in Nagorny Karabakh, the Armenian monastery of Dadivank receives its last pilgrims .

The guns fell silent earlier this week around the secessionist Armenian enclave, after more than a month of clashes and a humiliating defeat to Azerbaijani troops, who, following a Russian-sponsored agreement, will regain possession of the bulk of the territories lost in a war in the 1990s.

With its high mountains, sheer gorges and steep forested slopes, the district of Kalbajar is due to return to Baku control on Sunday, including the place dear to Armenians: Dadivank Monastery.

Supposedly founded in the early days of Christendom by Saint Dadi, Dadivank was built in the 12th-13th century.

After centuries of a troubled history, there remains today a magnificent monastic complex of gray stones - including a cathedral-church - pride of the Armenian Apostolic Church, clinging to the mountain.

"It's very hard, very painful.We have come to say goodbye ...", a forty-year-old brunette lets out a sob, hiding her tears behind her sunglasses.

Clusters of visitors, many from Yerevan, walk in meditation on the forecourt.Confused or resigned, they wander from a basilica to the chapel, under the narthex of Bishop Gregory.On Dadi's tomb, a few roses are finishing.wither.

- Improvised baptisms -

We exchange handfuls of candles bought in the small religious souvenir shop, already packing up while doing our last business.

Posted Date: 2020-11-21

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