Albert Voskanyan, Stepanakert
Two days ago, I unwittingly became a witness to a conversation between two elderly men. As I was sitting on the bench, two elderly men passed by. They stopped, look at the church that was being constructed and one of them said: ‘Why spending so much money on the church, who needs it? We used to live without God for so many years, so what? We lived quite normally. They’d better buy the tanks on that money, there is a war out there.’ The interlocutor agreed with him.
They went away. I stood up and looked in the direction of the constructed church: the area allotted for the construction was huge and the church of stately proportions was half-built.
It put me in mind of soviet times, when Nagorno-Karabakh was the only administrative-territorial entity with no operating churches or mosques. There were no clergymen in Karabakh at all; people were unaware of the religious holidays, the Holy Scripture. They visited the relatives’ graves on January 2, May 2, November 8, i.e. the next day after the public holidays. Easter was not celebrated. So, people used to live as atheists; they believed in the bright future, in the forthcoming communism.
Everything changed in Karabakh after the collapse of the Soviet Union. People started to restore churches, monasteries; the priests appeared; people started establishing fellowship with God and celebrating the religious holidays. Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church was set up. The law of God was taught at the extracurricular classes in schools.
Probably one can buy a tank or two or three of them, or even more, on the money that has been already spent on that church and that will be spent in future.
But how to live without believing God? How to live without any faith, in general. It’s true that in Soviet times, all the residents of our region lived without God, but was that right, did we live in a right way? We were artificially deprived of what had belonged to us for centuries; things that had been passed from generation to generation. Whereas now everything is getting back to its right course.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, the government spends a lot of money on education: the construction and rehabilitation of schools; salaries for teachers even in the most ‘unpromising’ mountainous schools. We have vocational schools, colleges, universities.
One can buy tanks on those funds. But there is a flip side: who needs illiterate children, illiterate engineers, builders, soldiers and illiterate citizens, in general? Such people and such a country have no prospects, no future.
The opinions, expressed in this article convey the author’s views and terminology do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editorial staff.
Published on: 12. 05. 2016