The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) is a secular state. Church and state are separated within the republic, and act separately from one another.
The majority of the population of the country professes Christianity and is incorporated in Artsakh’s Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the autocephalous Christian courses (directions). 3 % of the country’s population was professed Islam of Shiite persuasion and Orthodox before the establishment of the Soviet regimes. As well a small number of people were professed Evangelists or Catholics.
Both believers and atheists are distinguished with some tolerance to the representatives of other confessions.
The external confessional manifestations are also treated with tolerance in Artsakh and ordinary people are not shocked by clothing and accessories that demonstrate adherence to any type of confession, or different religions.
Propagation of Christianity in Artsakh and in the whole Armenian world dates to the first century, the period of the apostolic sermon. The spiritual center of the diocese is the Gandzasar monastery, the administrative centre and residence of the head of the diocese is the city of Shoushi with its Amenaprkich cathedral - church called Ghazanchetsots.
In the diocese a theological center functions at Gandzasar, in which more than 50 precious theological books have been published. A religious radio transmission “Gandzasar” is broadcasted, and a center of Christian education and exhortation functions there. Classes about the history of the church are held in Sunday schools; the history of the church is taught in all schools throughout Artsakh as well. The spiritual seminary of Shoushi, information center, center of Christian culture, children’s Christian theatre and clerical fraternity also operate from the same place.
The first preachers in Artsakh, who were among the 72 disciples of Jesus Christ, Apostle Dado (Faddeus) and Apostle Elisey were martyred spreading the light of Christianity.
At present there are about ten churches in Artsakh, which are operating in Shoushi, Stepanakert, Gandzasar, Amaras, Martouni, Askeran, Berdzor and other populated settlements.