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Armenian place of worship vandalized in Georgia’s Akhalkalaki (photos)

Unknown individuals in Akhalkalaki, Georgia (Samtskhe-Javakheti region) have broken into a 12th century Armenian monastery, ravaging the place by breaking crosses and sculptures and spoiling icons.

Fr. Archimandrite Maghakia Amiryan, the prelacy vicar of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka, visited the Monastery of Hermons two days after the incident accompanied by Rev. Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, the prelate of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese.

On their way, the clergymen met with the local police maintaining patrol at the scene. They prayed and sang Armenian chants, experiencing a great sorrow upon seeing the traces of vandalism. The spiritual leaders condemn the act, expressing their belief that its perpetrators were in most likelihood emotionally unstable people (as the chapel did not contain any precious item that could have possibly provoked any interest).

The residents from the neighboring districts have cleaned the site.

The local youth traditionally used to visit the Monastery of Hermons on the Armenian Christmas and Holy Water Day to take a bath in its basin which accumulated its water from the spring beneath. The water was believed to have a healing effect.

The place was found ravaged by a group of young pilgrims who visited the monastery early in the morning on Wednesday (April 3).

The local police have launched an investigation into the premeditated act of causing damage to cultural heritage or cultural monuments protected under the Georgian legislation (Article 259 of Georgian Criminal Code).

If convicted, the perpetrators will face fine or imprisonment of up to two years.


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