APA reports that the event was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the revival of Albaian-Udi church and 1700th anniversary of the declaration of Christianity as the official state religion in the Caucasian Albania. Chairman of Albanian-Udi Christian Community Robert Mobili said 170 years ago Albanian Church was subordinated to Armenian-Apostolic Church by Russian tzar.
But in order to preserve their language, culture and faith in Albanian church the Udis refused to go to church and prayed at home. During the Soviet period religion underwent pressure and churches were used for other purposes. Finally, after Azerbaijan gained independence Udis achieved revival.
After Azerbaijan gained independence, the first step taken by Udis was their state registration in 2003. After that activities were taken to restore churches and hold religious rites. Kish temple, one of the most ancient churches of the Caucasus, was restored in Sheki. Jotari Church named after St. Yelisey in Nij settlement of Gabala region was restored in 2006. Alongside wtith Jotari church there are Goy and Bulun churches in the settlement.
Chairman of Udi community of Volgograd province of the Russian Federation, Professor Richard Danakari, chairman of Udi community densely-populated in Georgia's Kvareli region Mamuli Nesumashvili, Archbishop Alexander of Baku and Azerbaijan, authorized representative of the Catholic Church in Azerbaijan Vladimir Fekete, chairman of Mountain Jews community of Azerbaijan Milikh Yevdayev, other local and foreign guests attended the event.
Chief of religious examination, public affairs and analysis department of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Agil Shirinov noted that the Azerbaijani state has always supported Albanian-Udi Church, one of the ancient religious confessions of the country, and a number of events were organized to promote the Caucasus Alban heritage in the world.
"A number of activities have been carried out by the State Committee in the past year to promote the heritage. It will be continued in the future," he said.
It was noted that Nij settlement is considered a small model of tolerance. There are 3 churches and two mosques in the settlement. Every district has 5-6 sacred places visited by Muslims and Christians. 3700 Udis live in the settlement with 6000 people. 4000 Udis live in Azerbaijan, 300 of them have been registered in Oghuz and Baku. There are about 10 000 Udinsall over the world. The Udis have preserved their language, religion, customs and traditions for 2500 years. The Udi language is taught at schools in Nij settlement.
Photo exhibition entitled "10 years in revival" was opened as a part of the event. Various publications reflecting the history of Albanian-Udi church were presented at the event. The event was continued with cultural program.
As an example of religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, iftar dinner will be hosted for the Muslim community of the settlement in the yard of Jotari church.