Multi-religious Azerbaijan

By Yekaterina Tesemnikova exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

Head of the Caucasus Muslim Administration Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s residence was crowded last week. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, religious figures of Turkic countries and North Caucasus republics attended an iftar organized at the residence.

Karachay-Cherkessian and Chechen Muftis Ismail Berdiyev and Sultan Mirzayev conveyed to President Aliyev and participants in the ceremony the best wishes of the people of the North Caucasus on Ramadan, stating that they could see rapid socio-economic development of the country every time they visited it. Archbishop Alexander, the head of the Baku and the Caspian Eparchy, noted that tolerance in Azerbaijan was valued at an international level.

Tolerance of nationalities and religions in Azerbaijan is considered one of the main accomplishments. It was achieved by wise state policy and clear understanding in the society that formation of an atmosphere of tolerance allows all nations and religions to live in one family.

Christianity

In 1991, the Cathedral of Myrrhbearers, built by Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev in 1907, was turned over to the Russian Orthodox Church. In May 2001, Patriarch of All-Russia Alexy II was visiting Azerbaijan and granted it the status of a main cathedral. Baku has Orthodox churches, Ganja and Khachmaz have one each.

Azerbaijan is a secular country and all religions are equal. The historic development of Azerbaijan, its geographical position and ethnic diversity formed a multi-religious state. In different time periods, Azerbaijan saw the development of paganism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religions. Azerbaijan has a total of 510 religious communities, 32 of them non-Islamic.

According to the Constitution, all nations and religions have equal rights. People visiting Azerbaijan for the first time are often surprised that there are no tensions, not even minor religious or ethnic conflicts.

Catholicism and Protestantism

In 1999, a Catholic community was registered in Azerbaijan. The next year it was provided with a building that was later transformed into a church. Construction of the Roman Catholic Church was accomplished in 2007, according to an agreement between Azerbaijan and the Vatican. In May 2002 Pope John Paul II visited Baku. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople visited it a year later. In 2003, the Albanian-Udi religious community was registered. The Albanian Church near Sheki is one of the oldest churches in the world. In 2006, another church opened. It was built on the site of the St. Elisha Church in Nidzh (Qabali District). Azerbaijan has an Evangelical-Lutheran church, an Evangelical-Christian Baptist church, a Seventh-day Adventist community, the Star in the East Pentecostalist community and a community of Molokan Christians.

Azerbaijan has Christian and Jewish education centers. Sunday schools are open at Orthodox churches. Evangelical-Christian Protestant communities have Biblical lectures, the Biblical Institute of the Life-Giving Delight community, lectures about Hebrew, Judaism and Jewish culture.

The Caucasus Muslim Administration has ties with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, religious organizations of Muslim and non-Muslim states. Bishops of the Russian Orthodox churches cooperate with churches in the Caspian Region, religious centers in the country and abroad.

Jewish communities of Azerbaijan have ties with Sochnut, Agudat Yisrael, T’Shuva Israel, European communities of the U.S., UK.

The international element of confessions is especially topical in the context of civil wars, ethnic, social and religious conflicts. Research says that wars may happen in any part of the world. Ukraine and the Caucasus are no exception. Continuation of wars does not depend on geography.

Judaism

Jews settled in Azerbaijan over 2,500 years ago. Baku has three synagogues, Oguz and Guba have one each. The first Jewish middle school opened in Baku in 2003. Azerbaijan has religious communities of European Jews, Ashkenazi mountain Jews, Georgian Jews.

In the early 1990s, Azerbaijan went through a civil war itself. Heydar Aliyev returned to Baku, becoming the national leader. The political situation in the country remained unstable because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The ceasefire allows Aliyev to concentrate on restoring the economy.

Azerbaijan is making swift economic progress, and invests in inter-religious and interethnic dialogue. Baku hosts international multiculturalism and inter-religious forums. Baku will host the first European Games in 2015 and the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017. “Azerbaijan is not only a bridge between civilizations, with our effort and our policy, we strengthen positive tendencies. Once again, it draws world attention to Azerbaijan," President Aliyev believes.

guarantees stability in the regionBy Yekaterina Tesemnikova exclusively for Vestnik KavkazaHead of the Caucasus Muslim Administration Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s residence was crowded last week. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, religious figures of Turkic countries and North Caucasus republics attended an iftar organized at the residence.Karachay-Cherkessian and Chechen Muftis Ismail Berdiyev and Sultan Mirzayev conveyed to President Aliyev and participants in the ceremony the best wishes of the people of the North Caucasus on Ramadan, stating that they could see rapid socio-economic development of the country every time they visited it. Archbishop Alexander, the head of the Baku and the Caspian Eparchy, noted that tolerance in Azerbaijan was valued at an international level.Tolerance of nationalities and religions in Azerbaijan is considered one of the main accomplishments. It was achieved by wise state policy and clear understanding in the society that formation of an atmosphere of tolerance allows all nations and religions to live in one family.ChristianityIn 1991, the Cathedral of Myrrhbearers, built by Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev in 1907, was turned over to the Russian Orthodox Church. In May 2001, Patriarch of All-Russia Alexy II was visiting Azerbaijan and granted it the status of a main cathedral. Baku has Orthodox churches, Ganja and Khachmaz have one each.Azerbaijan is a secular country and all religions are equal. The historic development of Azerbaijan, its geographical position and ethnic diversity formed a multi-religious state. In different time periods, Azerbaijan saw the development of paganism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religions. Azerbaijan has a total of 510 religious communities, 32 of them non-Islamic.According to the Constitution, all nations and religions have equal rights. People visiting Azerbaijan for the first time are often surprised that there are no tensions, not even minor religious or ethnic conflicts.Catholicism and ProtestantismIn 1999, a Catholic community was registered in Azerbaijan. The next year it was provided with a building that was later transformed into a church. Construction of the Roman Catholic Church was accomplished in 2007, according to an agreement between Azerbaijan and the Vatican. In May 2002 Pope John Paul II visited Baku. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople visited it a year later. In 2003, the Albanian-Udi religious community was registered. The Albanian Church near Sheki is one of the oldest churches in the world. In 2006, another church opened. It was built on the site of the St. Elisha Church in Nidzh (Qabali District). Azerbaijan has an Evangelical-Lutheran church, an Evangelical-Christian Baptist church, a Seventh-day Adventist community, the Star in the East Pentecostalist community and a community of Molokan Christians.Azerbaijan has Christian and Jewish education centers. Sunday schools are open at Orthodox churches. Evangelical-Christian Protestant communities have Biblical lectures, the Biblical Institute of the Life-Giving Delight community, lectures about Hebrew, Judaism and Jewish culture.The Caucasus Muslim Administration has ties with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, religious organizations of Muslim and non-Muslim states. Bishops of the Russian Orthodox churches cooperate with churches in the Caspian Region, religious centers in the country and abroad.Jewish communities of Azerbaijan have ties with Sochnut, Agudat Yisrael, T’Shuva Israel, European communities of the U.S., UK.The international element of confessions is especially topical in the context of civil wars, ethnic, social and religious conflicts. Research says that wars may happen in any part of the world. Ukraine and the Caucasus are no exception. Continuation of wars does not depend on geography.JudaismJews settled in Azerbaijan over 2,500 years ago. Baku has three synagogues, Oguz and Guba have one each. The first Jewish middle school opened in Baku in 2003. Azerbaijan has religious communities of European Jews, Ashkenazi mountain Jews, Georgian Jews.In the early 1990s, Azerbaijan went through a civil war itself. Heydar Aliyev returned to Baku, becoming the national leader. The political situation in the country remained unstable because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The ceasefire allows Aliyev to concentrate on restoring the economy.Azerbaijan is making swift economic progress, and invests in inter-religious and interethnic dialogue. Baku hosts international multiculturalism and inter-religious forums. Baku will host the first European Games in 2015 and the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017. “Azerbaijan is not only a bridge between civilizations, with our effort and our policy, we strengthen positive tendencies. Once again, it draws world attention to Azerbaijan," President Aliyev believ

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