First of all, it should be mentioned that all those responsible and involved in the construction of every Yazidi temple or place of worship deserve our thanks. For in the eventful and moving history of our faith community, in the last 1400 years, seldom anything has been gained, rather it has been decimated by sword and fire as only decimation was and is possible. Therefore to repeat: our thanks to all those who stand by Yazidi and Yazidism, especially in bad times.

The Name

The name “Quba Tawisî Melek û Heft Mêrê Dîwanê” is irregular, in Yazidic mythology “Heft Mêrê Dîwanê” stands for the Seven Angels. From an architectural point of view, a “Quba booklet Mêrê Dîwanê û Tawisî Melek” never existed. Qubs, i.e. Yazidi temples or the striking pointed domes of Yazidi temples are built in memory of historical persons, who actually lived and worked, who dedicated themselves to the Yazidi religion, who earned their merits and are venerated as saints. There are no Yazidi temples in memory of angels. For comparison: there are also no temples in honor of God.

Administration

The temples in Armenia and the land on which they were built are registered in the names of private individuals. These are therefore personal, private property. So, theoretically, if at any time a dispute should break out between the community and the land owner, the private person could easily and without fear of sanctions lock the doors of the temple. As a rule, such sacred buildings must be managed and accounted for by an organization, commission or similar.

Architecture

The temple architecture of the “Quba Tawisî Melek û Heft Mêrê Dîwanê” is – apart from the pointed domes – not Yazidi and thus not permissible. The responsible persons in Lalish gave an approval in 2015, probably without knowing what it will look like. The architect of this temple complex is Artak Ghulyan, an expert on Christian churches. During his career he has built over 10 monumental and design-technically beautiful, aesthetic churches. He brought his experience and the typical features of Christian churches into the design of the Yazidi temple. Examples are the thin and long window openings.

Temple Threshold

The threshold fulfils a separating function. It separates the religious and secular (life) spheres and is a transition of these. Not only in Yazidi temples, but also in the sanctuaries of other religious communities around the globe, the threshold fulfils the function of separating the sacred from the profane areas. For the sake of sacredness, temple pilgrims kiss the threshold, as do other sacred objects and places. In the two Yazidi temples in Armenia, both of which were thankfully financed by the same private person, no doorsills were allowed in. It is the duty of the Religious Council to guarantee such points.

Shoes in the Shrine

One of the fundamental rules and the central religious norms of Jesidentity is to take off one’s shoes and cover one’s head during daily prayer, if the situation allows it. Yazidi temples and sacred places may not be entered with shoes on. In the temples in Armenia, however, visitors and pilgrims with shoes are allowed to enter. The pilgrims probably do this out of ignorance, because the Serhed-Yesidians, including the Yazidi in Armenia and Georgia, did not know the Yazidi temple culture even in their homeland. Questionable, however, is the behavior of the itinerant preachers and Yazidic dignitaries trained in the central sanctuary of the Yazidis in northern Iraq – it is their responsibility to bring the religious rules closer to the people. Nowhere else in the world is it allowed to enter Yazidi ziyarets (shrines) with shoes on. This is also an ecclesiastical tradition, churches may be entered with shoes. So fundamental ceremonies, rules and central norms are changed, washed out and undermined.

Golden dome top

Yazidi sacred buildings have unique architectural features and are subject to religious unchanging norms. The domes of Yazidi temples are decorated with bronze dome spires, so-called “Hilêl”. These have certain shapes and are not designed at will; there are two types of “hilêls”. The “kef” represents a hand, it symbolizes the hand of Sheikh Adi and the “keramet”, the hidden power of God. The other genre is a crescent – a symbol of God from pre-Islamic and also pre-Christian times. Another genus has one, two and sometimes three cone-shaped balancing, this one often finds its place on small “Nîshangeh”-s with stone dome tips, also in cone shape.

Recently, dome tips in the form of small sun symbols have been used, as on the domes of both temples in Armenia. This change is a rejection of Islamic religious symbolism, which was revived in 2014 following the genocide of the Yazidi. This change is mainly driven by the “Mezine Qewal”, but he has no authority to do so. Such changes are not allowed without the appropriate legitimation, e.g. by the religious council in Lalish.

The only administrative organ of the Yazidi in Georgia, the “Religious Council of the Yazidi in Georgia” is clearly passive. Their position in this matter is not recognizable and they have sometimes not commented on it. Their inactivity and distanced attitude towards the current presence of the Yazidi in the other diaspora communities has contributed to this, as well as the inability of the highest Yazidi administrative body in Iraq to ensure that the construction of new shrines is done at will and without structural cooperation and administrative guidance. The Yazidi community in Georgia seems to distance itself from global issues and problems of its community, its field of activity is mainly limited to the state of Georgia.

The fault with the mentioned points of contention lies in particular with the High Religious Council in Iraq, the “Civata Ruhanîya Bilindî”. For it has totally failed in its duty to give advice and in its function as a controlling body in religious questions and is responsible for the religious chaos which is not to be despised. In Russia and Armenia, several temples have been built without the Religious Council having shown even a hint of interest. It is its task to consecrate these temples and to provide the necessary religious personnel. It should be mentioned, for example, that none of the Yazidi temples built in Russia and Armenia has been assigned a “Micêwir” – a prescribed temple guard trained in the Lalish Shrine who is responsible for the instruction and care of pilgrims, their religious instruction and the maintenance of the temples.

The following are localities where Yazidi temples have been built or are under construction in Iraq without permission and consecration by the High Religious Council:

In Armenia

  • Gundê Riya Taza
  • Gundê Avşên
  • Gundê Duzkend
  • Gundê Sorîk

In Russia

  • Tambov
  • Krasnodar gundê Neftyanoy