Aze.Media’s interview with Catholic highlights Azerbaijani religious diversity

Rachel Brooks

April 20, 2021

Above image from the Religious Roundtable by Republic Underground. 

Aze.Media interviewed an Azerbaijani Christian, showing the picture of the country’s third of Azerbaijan’s religious demographics. 

Aze. Media’s reporters interviewed an Azerbaijani Christian who had taken the name Pavlos, the Greek name of the Apostle Paul. 

In this interview, Pavlos looked like the curtain of the true life and culture of a Christian in Azerbaijan, a nation famed for being a Shia Muslim majority. Pavlos described his family as one that had no clear religious compass but were “Islamic deists” believers in a world view where God is called “Allah” even though they had no strong commitment to the Muslim faith.

Roundtable Recap: History of Muslims, Christians & Jews in Azerbaijan

 

For Pavlos, he described himself as strongly pulled, in his heart, always toward Christianity. He stated that, in the early 1990s, he was pulled toward the animated TV series Superbook familiar to American Christians as well, but aired on Russian television in the 1990s. Pavlos stated that, at the age of 28, he made an official decision to convert to Christianity, after a long pull toward Christ, which he traces to the Gospel of John.

Republic Underground met members of Azerbaijani Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in a roundtable that engaged the religious realities of Azerbaijan, defying what reports continue to surface that accused Azerbaijan of being a religious repressive state. 

 

“You did not choose me, but I chose you,” Pavlos quoted Jesus Christ’s words in the Gospel of John. 

Pavlos stated that, among all the Christians of Azerbaijan, the Catholic demographic is the smallest. In Azerbaijan, the Catholic sect is represented by Apostolic Prefecture, headed by is Eminence Bishop Vladimir Fekete, a Slovak by birth. He stated that local Azerbaijani cities together with foreign cities of the Caucasus make up the congregation of Azerbaijan’s Christians. Pavlos also noted that, while Lutherans and Orthodox Christians are quite active in the Azerbaijani public, the Catholic Church is more secluded in its culture. This is the reason for the less active public presence of the Catholic Azerbaijanis. He noted that Catholics are not as evangelistic or as online vocal as the rest of Christianity, preferring not to annoy the other religious demographics unnecessarily, preferring to share their faith when invited. 

Response to religious “watch list”, Azerbaijan’s religious diversity

 

Pavlos likewise addressed the U.S. State Department’s “biased” review of the treatment of Christians in Azerbaijan. Pavlos stated that the Azerbaijani state’s regulations of religion were only interested in regulating religious sects “prone to misbehavior.” 

Despite the opinion of Azerbaijani Christians that the state is not egregiously repressive of their different sects, the western world persists, placing Azerbaijan on a “religious watch list” of perceived abuses.