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October 06 2023 15:44

Remembering the Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh

The worship service on 1 October in the Lutheran church of Budakeszi was dedicated to the Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh. Tamás Fabiny, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, used to occasion to draw attention to the fate of Christians persecuted because of their faith.

20231001 Budakeszi emlekezes ormeny keresztenyekre foto Nagy Adam

"While it is only natural to be preoccupied with our own affairs, our own joys and sorrows, with the life of our local church, helping those in need, supporting those fleeing the war raging not far from our borders, we may overlook news reports about events and places as distant as the small country in the Caucasus.

Yet, in the church of Budakeszi, which is dedicated to the memory of the Christian martyrs, it is especially necessary to pause for a moment and remember our Christian brothers and sisters who are experiencing terrible suffering even in these days and in these hours.

We all know that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has been dragging on for decades. We have also read the news that on 19 September 2023, in a one-day war, the autonomous Karabakh region was occupied by the military of the majority nation. The self-government of the Armenian community calling itself the Republic of Artsakh was dessolved. Its population of 120,000 has fled. People are leaving their homes and places of residence behind. They are leaving their churches, too. The majority of people in Nagorno-Karabakh belong to one of the oldest Christian communities, the Armenian Apostolic Church. Following the exhodus of the population, more than 400 churches, monasteries and church buildings will remain empty in the deserted region.

The Apostle Paul writes: "...if one member suffers, all suffer with him; if one member rejoices, all rejoice with him." (1 Cor 12:26)

Therefore, let us remember the suffering of our Armenian brothers and sisters. Let us express our solidarity with them. Let us pray for them and, if we can, try to alleviate their suffering. For our distant brothers and sisters have today become persecuted Christians: martyrs of our time."