10:42 pm - Thursday May 24, 2018

Spreading of Christianity in Albania

sassanid empire map2 300x175 Spreading of Christianity in Albania

Sassanid empire

Christianity that was utilized as an instrumental for strengthening the power of the Albanian kings and for struggle against the supremacy of the Sasanid Empire had also positively influenced to the development of the Albanian culture in general.

Beginning from IV c. Christian religion began to spread in Albania as well as in the whole Caucasus and Iran, mainly, due to the cultural and political influence of Byzantium. Christianity also became an instrumental for strengthening the power of the Albanian kings and for struggle against the supremacy of the Zoroastrian Sasanid Empire. An independent Christian church and autocephalous catholicate was established in Albania. The divine services were hold in the Albanian language. In V c. AD an Albanian alphabet consisted of 52 characters emerged. The new religion positively influenced to the development of the Albanian culture. Kabala- the capital of Albania situated in the north of Azerbaijan also became its religious center.

But in V-VI cc. Albania’s situation worsened, because, the Sasanid Iran, which didn’t hamper spreading of the Christianity before, now, fearing increase of the Byzantine influence, took measures to preserve the local beliefs (idol worship etc.) and the official religion (fire worship). In a general battle, which took place in 451 AD in the Avarayr field, the allied forces of the Armenian, Albanian and Iberian kings, devoted to Christianity, underwent defeat at the hands of the Sasanid army. Many of the Albanian nobility run to the mountainous regions of Albania, particularly to Artsakh (present-day mountainous Karabakh), which became a center for resistance against the Sasanid Iran. The religious center of the Albanian state also moved here. In 457 AD the Albanian king Vache II renounced the fire worship and proclaimed the Christianity the official religion of Albania. In 498 in the settlement named Aluen (Aguen) situated in the present day Aghdam region of Azerbaijan, there was held a church assembly. This assembly adopted the laws strengthening the positions of Christianity in Albania further. And even though the Sasanids have resorted to all measures to prevent spreading of the Christianity in Albania, and even put an end to its sovereignty for a while, the Christian religion fortified its positions, particularly in the mountainous regions, where the Sasanids’ power was restricted.

Filed in: Karabakh during the IV-XII cc

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