• James Tam 谭炳昌

The Caucasus (2) — Religion 高加索掠影(2)-宗教


We are supposed to be tolerant of religion no matter how absurd it is; but religions have not been very tolerant of others. Throughout the Caucasus, there’s nearly nothing left of its pre-Christian glories; they have been brutally destroyed or craftily painted over by organised religions long ago. All that’s left from five millennia of Caucasian civilisation are churches, cathedrals, monasteries, and memories of savage conflicts incited by gods. In less than three weeks, I saw a lifetime’s worth of crosses and churches and monasteries. I suspect there are more crucifixes and monasteries in Armenia and Georgia than in Heaven itself.

無論多荒誕的宗教,現代文明人都不只要包容,還得尊重。這國際規矩是由宗教文化養大的人定的,不得破壞。但回顧歷史,宗教本身對異見通常不留情面,手起刀落。在有幾千年歷史的高加索,差不多所有古蹟都是四世紀歸奉了基督以後的遺物。在這之前的異教建設,祭祀聖殿之類,都被清洗乾淨,考古無從。幾千年老的文明搖籃,剩下的都是教堂和修道院。我看在亞美尼亞和格魯吉亞的十字架,可能比天堂的還要多。

Pilgrims at Geghard Cave Monastery, Armenia 亞美尼亞 Geghard 山洞修院的朝聖信徒

Pilgrims at Geghard Cave Monastery, Armenia (2) 亞美尼亞 Geghard 山洞修院的朝聖信徒 (2)

The Armenian Apostolic Church is the oldest National Church (established 301 CE), and had supposedly been founded by the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, no less, presumably before they died. It is independent from the Catholic Church, and runs its separate spiritual (and tourist?) centre in Jerusalem. In Armenian cathedrals, it’s common to see obeisant Christians hugging the Bible, kissing icons, or crossing themselves ecstatically, soliciting God for mundane favours, begging recovery from illness rather than blissful reunion with Him in Heaven.

亞美尼亞使徒教會始於公元301年,是最早的基督教國家教會,據說是耶穌的兩位使徒親自創立的。但耶穌的使徒活不了哪麼久,所以基督教的滲入估計是再要早兩三百年的事。使徒會因為歷史悠久,獨立於羅馬教廷,在耶路撒冷有自己的獨立服務中心,與梵蒂岡同起同坐。在亞美尼亞的眾多教堂里,隨時可以見到虔誠教徒苦讀聖經,輕吻聖物,高唱聖詩或仰天狂喜地在胸前猛畫十字。據瞭解,信徒在上帝面前提出的一般都是合理要求,如添丁發財,或迅速病癒,千萬不要蒙主寵召之類。

Khor Virap Monastery near Yerevan 埃里溫市附近的 Khor Virap 修院

A Georgian priest at Jvari reviewing his Bible, again 格魯吉亞的神父讀了一生人的聖經,仍然希望溫故知新

Georgians are nearly as devout as Armenians, but apparently less passionate in expression. Traditionally, Georgian monks hid in caves to ruminate on the ferocious nature of God, and make colourful graffiti of the same old themes — Last Supper, Crucifixion, Ascension, and so on, all over the mountain side. The David Gareja Complex, with it’s famous frescos, is an awesome legacy of cave-dwelling monks from the 6th century. Looming precipitously over the border with Azerbaijan, the scenery is breathtaking, a must go for any visitor to Georgia.

One of the caves at David Gareja Complex, Georgia 格魯吉亞David Gareja的山洞修院

格魯吉亞對宗教的熱忱與亞美尼亞差不多,但作風較含蓄。格魯吉亞從前的修士,喜歡躲在山洞里冥想求神,閒來壁上塗鴉,可惜畫來畫去都是耶穌同門徒食飯,釘十字架,升天等題材,創意不高。但六世紀的 David Gareja 山洞修院,猶如個巨大蜂巢,幾百個山洞分布在與亞美尼亞接壤的平原上的峭壁,是個十分詭異的古蹟景點,絕對值得一游。

A little prayer at Sveti-Tskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia 一名魯吉亞神父誠心禱告,求神保佑快高長大

Eh, Anyone dropped a head? 嗯,誰掉了頭哦?

Azerbaijan is the only Muslim country in Southern Caucasus. 90% of Azerbaijanis call themselves Shiites but religion doesn’t seem a big deal there, and is not a source of social tension. The mosques were nicely deserted. Ironically, they might have to thank the Soviets for having removed Allah from their list of Popular Causes of Death. Contrary to what they tell us in the news, not all Muslims are fundamentalist.

阿塞拜疆是南高加索唯一的回教國家,90% 屬什葉派。但宗教在這裡倒不怎麼狂熱,不同教派的人基本上和平共處,沒有衝突。這可能要多謝蘇聯時期的宗教政策,讓這人口稀少的國家擺脫了一項熱門的殺人動機。伊斯蘭國家在國際「自由傳媒」的宣傳下,形象都比較狂熱。但在南高三國之中,阿塞拜疆的宗教氣氛最淡薄。

Final group picture of some famous Christian martyres 一批著名的基督教烈士死前的集體畫像

Link to: The Caucasus (3) — Faces of Armenia and Azerbaijan

鏈接到 高加索掠影(3)-阿塞拜疆與亞美尼亞的面目

#Photos #摄影 #高加索 #Caucasus #Religion #宗教

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