Armenia, the first Christian nation, needs our prayers this Christmas says resident of the country, Dana Fitzgerald. As war is ongoing with Azerbaijan and Christians are being held in Baku and Pakistan, we must pray for mercy, comfort, and freedom of the captives.
One might wonder why I am commenting on a situation happening in lands not my own, to a people not my own blood, instigated by another people of a totally foreign culture. Actually, it’s a situation very close to me in a few ways.
I am an American Jewish woman, a follower of Jesus for forty-nine years, and a missionary to Armenia, called here four years ago to serve.
When I, with my husband, arrived in Armenia in August, 2020, I did not have much background or familiarity with the nation. I soon learned of her rich ancient history, similar in longevity to my own people’s existence.
It includes the landing of Noah’s ark in the nearby mountains of Ararat, the miracle that led to the Armenian king proclaiming his kingdom to be a Christian nation (in 301 AD).
We arrived just as the country reopened after the Covid-19 shutdown, and were present only one month when the 44-Day War started with Azerbaijan
The horrible genocide by the Ottomans (1915 – 1917), the template of which was used by Hitler to annihilate my own people just decades later, the ties to the Soviet Union and subsequent separation (1920-1990), and more.
We arrived just as the country reopened after the Covid-19 shutdown, and were present only one month when the 44-Day War started with Azerbaijan. I saw a country that is mild-mannered, with a ‘live and let live’ attitude, become a ravaged and broken mess. There was no joy, no laughter, no hope as sons, brothers, fathers, friends, cousins, perished. The country became an environment of death and grief; everyone was impacted.
Then, when the war ended, we learned of the prisoners of war, who were (and still are) held in both Baku and Pakistan. Since 2020, I have been in countless prayer sessions for these prisoners, knowing full well the abuse that they face constantly, especially from watching Azeri “home videos” of their treatment toward those captured, including the abuse of some soldiers’ corpses.
I have read the reports of Aleksander Lapshin, a Jewish journalist, who was kidnapped for visiting Artsakh (the Armenian republic within Azerbaijan borders and the 44-Day war epicentre). He was tortured, and nearly murdered, in a Baku prison before being finally released. His legal case against the leader and government of Azerbaijan was won in the European Court of Justice, along with two other cases of illegal imprisonment of Armenians.
My heart breaks even today for the families who are suffering still from that time of death, loss, and separation. I feel their pain personally as I feel for the families of the Israeli (and other nation’s) hostages now held by Hamas; these people are my friends, relations of my friends, and my blood.
Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has fallen, through the starvation and travel blockade enacted against her 120,000 citizens.
Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has fallen, through the starvation and travel blockade enacted against her 120,000 citizens. It begun in December of 2022 and is to be formally completed by January, 2024, and thus another layer of anguish and heartache is upon us here in Armenia. There are now those among us without their land and ancestral homes, living as refugees in their somewhat foreign sister-land.
In this context, Azerbaijan, with Europe’s and the USA’s “encouragement” is promoting a peace agreement with Armenia. Azerbaijan continues to attack, invade, intimidate, and even kill in Armenia as I write this piece. The world in general does not know, see, or cannot be bothered about this, because these attacks are low-level, and they do not impact the greater regions or European nations nearby.
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In my opinion, any peace agreement with Azerbaijan cannot be trusted, as their often stated end goal is to regain their so-called ancestral lands, the sovereign lands of Armenia, ‘now occupied by Armenians’.
From a Christian world view, the enmity between these two theocratic faiths will not be resolved through a ‘peace agreement’ concerning arms, borders, mineral rights, transit, etc., but will continue to fuel the evil governmental systems across all of the Caucasus region, into the Middle East.
What can we do? Please pray for all the innocents involved, who are subject to their government’s laws, customs, and systems. Pray for the evil-doers to be exposed and vanquished, and for unholy agreements between national leaders to end. Pray for wisdom for those leaders who truly want the best for their people and lands. Pray for mercy, comfort, and freedom to the captives, now numbering between 51 and 80 persons. Please don’t forget Armenia.
Read more on this topic from Christian Solidarity Worldwide