Azerbaijani documentary screened at International Christian Film Festival
By Ilham Karimli August 30, 2022
The film tells a story about historic religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, where the protagonist, played by actor Shahin Sarkaro, embarks on a journey to find his true self. / Courtesy
A feature documentary “The Way to the Temple” directed by Azerbaijani director Rufat Asadov was included in the main program of JESUS CINE FEST – International Christian Film Festival be held in Argentina on September 10.
The film recount a story about historic religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, where the protagonist, played by actor Shahin Sarkaro, embarks on a journey to find his true self.
The feature documentary “The Way to Temple”, previously shown at a festival in Vatican City, will be the first Azerbaijani film to participate in the JESUS CINE FEST. The documentary was shot in the architectural monuments of the northwestern Gakh region of Azerbaijan – the Yeddi Kilsa (Seven Churches) monastery and the Christian temple Kurmuk.
The Yeddi Kilsa (Seven Churches) monastic complex is one of the oldest Caucasian Albanian Apostolic monasteries in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. It is located on the highest point north of Lakit village in Gakh. The complex differs from other religious architectural monuments of Azerbaijan with its unique architecture. It contains seven main structures, including two large churches, which most likely served as main churches, and five small chapels. Some scholars are convinced that the complex was built in the 4th-5th (according to other sources, the 5th-7th) centuries, during the Golden Age of Christianity in Caucasian Albania. The latter was an ancient state unrelated to the modern Eastern European country of the same name, which existed on the territory of Azerbaijan between the 4th century BC and the 8th century AD. Christianity was the main religious belief in this ancient state.
The Kurmuk temple was built on the ruins of an ancient Albanian monastery from the 1st-3rd centuries, on top of a green hill. The road leading to the temple passes through a dense forest, along a beaten track. As a result of archaeological excavations in 2006, remains of ancient buildings were found on the territory of the temple. Also, it was revealed that the Albanian temple had undergone restorations in various historical periods. Kurmuk is a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people who have adopted monotheistic religions – Christianity and Islam.
Today, 26 Christian religious communities hold prayers in 16 churches across Azerbaijan. Four percent of the ten million inhabitants of Azerbaijan are made up of the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church; Georgian Orthodox Church; Armenian Apostolic Church; Seventh-day Adventists; Molokan Church; A Roman Catholic Church; other Christians, including Evangelical churches and Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as Jews and Baha’is, and the International Krishna Consciousness Society, according to 2019 International Religious Freedom Report: Azerbaijan published by the US Department of State.