Christianity influenced Azerbaijan by means of the Caucasus Albania in the first years of the new era in times of Christ’s apostils. The inflow of Jews to the Caucasus intensified after the overthrow of Jerusalem. The newcomers told about the wonders (miracles) that were demonstrated by Jesus. The first Christian communities were established under the influence of such propaganda. The first stage of spreading Christianity was called the period of apostils connected with the apostils Varfolomei and Faddey. One of the progenies of apostil Faddey started to spread the new religion by the benediction of the first patriarch of Jerusalem Yegub reached the land of Agvan and erected a church in Kish village. This church had been constructed before the first Christian church of Armenia. Later, Yelisey moved to Chola (Derbend) and passed the river Samur to propagandize the religion. He was killed by one of the idolaters of Helmes village and thrown into a hole. Later Yelisey’s corpse was lifted from the hole by the instruction of Albanian melik Vachagan and buried in Khug village, and a small temple was erected over the hole.
When the Roman emperor Constantine lifted the veto from Christianity in 313, Albanian ruler Urnayr declared Christianity the state religion. A new stage in the spread of Christianity called the period of pro-Greek emerged in Azerbaijan since that time. Academic Ziya Bunyadov points out that Urnayr, Vache the second, and Vachagan the third fought for spreading Christianity in the country. The priesthood and church hierarchy formed in the 3rd-4th centuries. Feudal lords allotted particular areas for churches on their lands by the instruction of the Catholicos. Churches were built in the region, and religious books were translated from Syrian, Arami, and Greek languages to Albanian. The book “In Albanian script and Albanian language” is considered the most ancient public reader of the world Christianity.
In 451, at a church meeting in Chalcedon, Albania preferred monophysitism. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the struggle between monophysites and diophysites intensified within the country. In the late 6th and early 7th centuries, the Albanian Church adopted Diophysitism.
The residence of Albanian Catholicos that was located in the Gochay city moved to Barda in 552. After the spread of Islam, especially with the fall of the Albanian meliks, the role of Christianity within the country weakened, worship in churches was conducted in the Armenian language with the unification of the Albanian Church to the Armenian Church, and the Albanian language was suppressed. In the VIII-IX centuries, when independent states were established in the territory of Azerbaijan, the Albanian Church restored the status of an autocephalous church. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Eastern Christianity maintained its influence in the region to some extent. This situation continued until the 18th century. In 1836, the tsarist government dissolved the Albanian Church with the suggestion of the Synod, and all church property was transferred to the Echmiadzin Catholicosate. The Albanian church was once more restored in the 1980-1990s. The Albanian-Udi Christian community was registered by the government in 2003, following the restoration of the Kish church in Sheki. The church of Nich village is currently being restored in the Gabala district.
Christianity was represented by Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, and some sectarian communities in Azerbaijan. Five Armenian-Gregorian communities have been registered in the country.
Orthodoxy was imported to Azerbaijan in the frame of the policy of resettlement led by the Russian tsarist regime in the early 19th century. The first orthodox church of Baku started to operate in 1815. Sectarian Christians were driven to the Caucasus to avoid the hard consequences of separations occurring in the Russian Orthodox Church. The first Russian migrants set up Altiaghaj village in Shamakhi in 1834, Vel village in Lankaran in 1838, Borisi-Russian [Russkie Borisy] village of Yelizavetpol in 1842, and Slavyanka village in 1844. Baku province accounted for 21 sectarian villages with 13 thousand people in 1868.
The first Roman Catholic Parish was created in Baku by the Russian Army with the resettlement of military Catholics in the Caucasus in the 1850s. The Parish was under the military Roman-Catholic Parish of Tetri-Skaroda (Georgia). The Baku Parish became independent in 1882. In 1895, a church was built in honor of St. Mary [Maria]. Eight years later, and in 1903, the Church of the Holy Cross was built in the Baku cemetery. The new church of St. Mary, which was considered the most beautiful architectural monument of Baku, was built in a gothic style in 1909-1912. However, during the Soviet period, the Bolsheviks demolished the church in 1934. In 1999, the Roman-Catholic community was restored in Baku, and in 2007, a new church was built in Baku in memory of St. Mary church.
Former Roman Pope Saint John Paul II paid an official visit to Baku on May 22-23 of 2002.
In October 2016, Pope Francis, who was on a trip to our country, attended a mass religious ceremony in the Catholic Church in Baku and welcomed by President Ilham Aliyev.
The followers of the Lutheran church (Baptism) arrived in Baku along with German industrialists taking part in the development of oil fields in the second half of the 19th century. The visit was mainly due to political and religious unrest in Germany in the early 19th century. During that time, people rumored that the West was nearing the Apocalypse and that only the East may save everyone. People, especially the sectarians, tried to run away from the questions about the Apocalypse to Russia and the Caucasus. 209 German families resided in Azerbaijan in early 1819. The Lutheran community was established in Baku in 1870. The community members constructed their temple-circa (currently the hall of Organ and Camera Music) in Baku in 1899. The circa had been built even earlier in Yelendorf (present-day Khanlar). The Lutheran church priests and representatives of other religious communities were sent into exile and executed by shooting in 1937. The Lutheran community resumed its activity in Baku in 1944.