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On November 17, 2020, with participation of local and international journalists, a final pilgrimage to St. Minas church at Hak village, Northern Kashatagh, was carried out. The 17th century church had been restored in 2009 by Tufenkian Foundation with a grant from Virginia Davies. Ms. Davies was among the pilgrims who gathered in St. Minas, and she shared her thoughts with the pilgrims, expressing a deep concern about the possible desecration, destruction and erasure of Armenian cultural heritage by Azerbaijan, as had been done by Turkey in the aftermath of the 1915 genocide.

On her return to New York, together with Antranig Kasbarian and Chris Parnagian and under the aegis of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy), Save Armenian Monuments (SAM) was launched. The mission of SAM is to preserve, remember and defend Armenian heritage in the Caucasus. These Armenian monuments establish that these lands, including lands now under Azeri control, are historic Armenian lands. SAM will coordinate with other stakeholders to help preserve the physical existence of the monuments; advocate for and exercise the human right to worship; and teach Armenians in Armenia, diasporan Armenians (especially our young people), and the broader community about our historic homelands.



-Engaging with local authorities and communities in connection with community archeology projects and clean-ups of remote Armenian churches, cemeteries and sacred sites in Artsakh, including at Hakobavank, Vaghuhas’ Church of Holy Mother of God, and Dahraz’s Saint Virgin Mary;

-Partnering in the organization of the International Religious Freedom and Peace conference at Holy Etchmiadzin;

-Convening a strategic planning summit with relevant stakeholders in cultural preservation at Yerevan, bringing together a variety of key actors to find solutions for cultural preservation;

-In exploring mechanisms for the enforcement of Armenians’ religious rights to worship at sacred sites and for making more accessible reservoirs of information about heritage sites, supporting the technological modernization of Research on Armenian Architecture, a Yerevan-based NGO which meticulously documents Artsakh’s heritage;

-Researching alternative avenues for gaining access to Armenian monuments under Azerbaijani control; delivering lectures and participating in panel discussions; publishing articles in major outlets; and discussing the cause of preservation on media platforms;

-Publishing articles on cultural and humanitarian issues in Artsakh in Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy;

-Carrying out pilgrimages (by SAM’s Artsakh liaison) to Artsakh sites, including for the participation in Palm Sunday services and celebrations;

-Submitting testimony in support of the European Parliament resolution in condemnation of Azerbaijan’s ongoing erasure of Armenian cultural monuments; and

-Issuing press releases in condemnation of Azerbaijan’s launch of a state organ for the Albanization of Armenian churches in Artsakh.

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Gandzasar Church

Research on Armenian Architecture

Prompted by the moral obligation to study historical Armenian heritage before its total annihilation and save it at least in photographs, Armen Hakhnazarian, an architect-planner with two doctorates in architecture and technical sciences, embarked on documentation of Armenian monuments in Western Armenia




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