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The '''Church of Arran''' (Azeri. 'Land of Warriors', Ar/Ər - 'warrior/man', An - 'land') is one of the oldest churches in the world. It is an [[Autocephaly|Autocephalous Orthodox Church]] and was first established by the Holy [[Apostle Bartholomew]] in Baku, and then by St. [[Elisha of Arran|Elisha]] in the village of Kish, north of Azerbaijan. It was amalgamated with the [[Church of Armenia|Armenian Orthodox Church]] in 1836, when Tsar Nicolas I of Russia signed "The Decree on managing the affairs of the Armenian-Gregorian Church in Russia" ("Положение о управлении делами Армяно-Григорианской церкви в России"). The Church of Arran was re-established in Azerbaijan in 2003 as the Church of Caucasian Albania-Udi. In 2013 during 1700th anniversary of establishing Christianity in Azerbaijan, the grand opening of the Church of Arran took place in the village of Nij.
The kingdom of Arran, better known in English as 'Caucasian Albania' (Latin - Albānia, Greek - Αλβανεια), is said to have been first evangelized by the Holy [[Apostle Bartholomew]] and a [[disciple]] of St. [[Apostle Jude|Thaddeus]], St. [[Elisha of Arran|Elisha]], who is called the 'Apostle of Arran.' The nation as a whole did convert into Christianity when the Arsacid King [[Urnayr]] of Arran was [[baptism|baptized]] by St. [[Gregory the Enlightener|Gregory the Illuminator]] in 313.
There were 26 ethnicities in Caucasian Albania according to Moses of Kalankatuyk. All of them could be separated into three major linguistic groups: Turkic, Caucasian, Iranian languages.
The Turukkaeans (Turuk/Turk according to the Assyrian sources), proto-Turkic aboriginal nation who inhabited Azerbaijan since XX BC, practiced Tengrism and mainly used the Turkic Runic script which dated back to the Cuneiform script of Sumeria. The Turkic runic alphabet has 29 letters. Those ones who adopted the Christianity used both the Runic and the Greek. Eventually due to an oppression from the Armenians, Arabs and Mongols, those Turkic speaking christians migrated to Cappadocia and formed the Karamanli Turkish community, the Karamanlides. The Greek alphabet for writing Turkic is called Karamanlidika (Καραμανλήδικα / Καραμανλήδεια γραφή). Example, Bardanes Tourkos (Βαρδάνης ὁ Τοῦρκος) was a Byzantine general of the Turkic origin who launched an unsuccessful rebellion against Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811) in 803. His name shows that he was baptised in the Church of Arran, and of the Turkic origin. The
Ancient Bulgars, Gagauzians and Urumians are also another example of the Orthodox Christians of the Turkic origin from the Black Sea basin who did employed the Greek alphabet.
The Caucasian speaking lived mainly in the north part of the kingdom and used the alphabet which was based on Syriac and Aramaic. Eventually, it became the alphabet that is often referred as the Alphabet of Caucasian Albania or the Arranian alphabet. The script contains 54 characters.
The Iranian speaking were distributed sporadically as the Parthian settlements. Majority of them practiced the Zoroastrianism and initially the Parthian (Pahlavi) script was issued. This script contains 19 characters. Then it was replaced by Avestan. The Avestan alphabet has 37 consonants and 16 vowels. Those script were also based on so called "Imperial Aramaic".
All three languages were different so could not share one common alphabet. Therefore the each community held services on its own native language.
*[http://www.gandzasar.com/ Gandzasar Monastery of St. John the Baptist] (Official Website)
*[http://baku.eparhia.ru/history/albania/ The History of Christianity in Caucasian Albania] (Eparchy of Baku)
*[http://www.pravoslavie.ru/put/070126150112.htm Orthodoxy in Azerbaijan] (Pravoslavie)
*[http://en.trend.az/news/society/2176682.html Azerbaijan celebrates 1700th anniversary] (Trend.az)
*[http://www.korpu.net/BibleNorth.html The Holy Bible in Azerbaijani] Korpu.net
*[http://udi.az The Udis in Azerbaijan] Udi.az
http:// crossofarran.blogspot.co.uk/ 2013/ 12/ancient-cross- of- arran.html The Cross of Arran] History