The Albanian Apostolic Church or the Church of Caucasian Albania was an ancient briefly independent autocephalous church. It was one of the earliest national Christian churches, in the early 8th century, the church tried to embrace Chalcedonianism, but this attempt was foiled by the rest of the Armenian Church with the help of the Arabs. According to Strabo, who travelled to the region in the 1st century BC, the local tribes practised polytheism. Among the worshipped deities, Strabo names the gods of the sun, the sky, and above of all, the moon, and equates them to the Greek gods Helios, Zeus, and Selene respectively. The skeleton of a bound in fetters found in 1950, during the archeological excavations in Mingachevir. According to local tradition, Christianity entered Caucasian Albania in the 1st century through St. Elisæus of Albania, a disciple of St. Thaddeus of Edessa. St. Elisæus was ordained bishop by James the Just in Jerusalem, from there he travelled to Utiķ, to the city of Saharn, but was chased from there by the pagans. After this he arrived at a place called Gis where he built a church - the first in the Caucasus, today believed to be the Church of Kish north of Shaki. The church founded by St. Elisæus was regarded by Caucasian Albanians as their mother-church that laid the foundation of institutionalised Christianity in the kingdom, on his way through the Zerguni Valley, St. Elisæus was martyred, and his remains were buried in a place named Homenķ. They were later exhumed and reburied in the Jrvshtik Monastery, the remains of St. Bartholomew were secretly transferred to Mesopotamia. The chapel was demolished in the Soviet times, in 1936, according to historian Igor Kuznetsov, this established the Armenian Apostolic Churchs notion of its superiority to the Church of Caucasian Albania. Indeed, The Udis who resided on the territory of the Caspian sea shore, later accepted Christianity, the church of Kish in Shaki district - the first Christian church -was considered the forefather of the Christian churches. After Urnayrs death, the Caucasian Albanians requested that St. Gregorys grandson, St. Gregoris, St. Gregoris had been ordained bishop of Caucasian Albania and Iberia at age 15 and travelled through those lands preaching Christianity. He built Caucasian Albanias third known church in the city of Tsri, during his stay in the land of the Maskout in northeast Caucasian Albania, St. Gregoris was attacked by an angry mob of idol worshippers, tied to a horse and dismembered. His remains were buried near the Amaras Monastery built by his grandfather in the canton of Haband in Artsakh. In probably the early 5th century, a bishop by the name of Jeremy translated the Holy Bible into the language of the Caucasian Albanians. The earliest extant excerpts of translations of parts of the Bible into Old Udi come from the 7th century and these translations were commissioned probably by King Javanshir. Prior to going, representatives from all three nations vowed to each other that they would never relinquish their faith, in the mid-5th century, under King Vache II, Caucasian Albania shortly adopted Zoroastrianism due to Persian influence
Image: Kościół w Nidż, Azerbejdżan detal
Side view of the Church of Kish
Gandzasar Monastery, seat of the Aghvank Catholicosate of the Armenian Apostolic Church until the 19th century.
Image: Wyremontowana świątynia Udinów (Udynów) Nidż, Azerbejdżan