Residents of one of Armenia’s most dilapidated villages are hoping a religious revival can improve their economic fortunes.
In early August, the town of Karakert, a churchless Armenian village founded during the 1950s to house factory workers, hosted a mass baptism. Residents, some of whom now refer to the town as “cursed,” hoped that the event could help reverse two decades of decline.
“This is a rebirth,” said Ashot Mnastkanyan, who brought his children Manvel, 13, and Ani, 11, to be baptized at Karakert’s community center. “We came here with so much joy.”
“Today, I felt like I finally became Armenian,” declared newly baptized 55-year-old Laura Manoogyan. Deacon Avedis Zargavak Zhamkochyan, one of several priests who officiated at the mass ceremony, chimed in to correct her: “You were always Armenian, but today you became a Christian.”
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Liana Aghajanian is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.