Construction of Centre for Orthodox Studies will soon begin on top of Armenian cemetery in Tbilisi

PanARMENIAN.Net - Construction of a Centre for Orthodox Studies (Djemaran) will soon begin on top of the Armenian cemetery in Tbilisi. Armenian foreign language specialist Raffy Dikranian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter that during his recent visit to Tbilisi, Georgia on 6 and 7 September 2007, he was horrified by the fact that a large ditch has been dug out between the recently built Georgian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Armenian "Pantheon Medzats", where an Armenian cemetery used to be.

"My previous visit to Tbilisi was in September 2005. During that visit, I was informed by the local Armenian population of Tbilisi, in the predominantly Armenian Avlabar district, that the Georgian Government had constructed the largest cathedral of the Caucasus (Holy Trinity) on the graves of Armenian writers. Only the gravestones had been moved to

another site behind the cemetery, what is currently the Armenian Pantheon, while the bones had not been relocated. It was unbelievable then that such an insensible act could be possible, yet during this trip, I received confirmation that the Armenians of Tbilisi had not exaggerated the truth in any way," he said.

"Upon my arrival in Tbilisi on 6 September 2007, I was informed of Georgian President Saakashvili's plans to completely tear down all the buildings in the Avlabar District and to build a new, luxurious neighborhood in that area, around the Holy Trinity Cathedral, for the President's elite. It must be mentioned that the buildings occupied by the Armenians had never been renovated by the Government over the years and were unsafe. The Government has recently informed the Armenian residents of Avlabar that it will pay them approx. $906 USD per square meter and move them to a housing project to be constructed outside the centre's boundaries. The Armenians of Avlabar whose families have lived there for centuries do not want to leave but have no choice," he added.

Raffy Dikranian urges upon all those concerned to write to UNESCO and President Saakashvili and ask him to show some respect to the Armenians of Tbilisi by properly burying the bones of the deceased and allowing them to continue to reside in Avlabar as they have done so for centuries.

Raffy Dikranian is a foreign language specialist and works with major institutions like the United Nations' specialized International Civil Aviation agency and the Quebec ministry of Health and Social Services to translate and interpret across a large number of languages.

Here you can the photos of the desecrated cemetery
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