Armenians, Georgians in unholy row over disputed church

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Amidst the rambling homes and cobble-stoned streets of the Georgian capital Tbilisi's old town, two stone churches stand side-by-side, sharing a snow-covered courtyard.

One, the Georgian Orthodox Church of Jvaris Mama, is alive with parishioners and lit candles. Its neighbour, the Norashen Church, sits lonely and locked.

Unused for nearly seven decades, the Norashen Church is at the heart of long-running dispute between the Armenian Apostolic and the Georgian Orthodox Churches.

The dispute has flared again in recent weeks, raising ethnic tensions in Georgia as it is still recovering from an August war with Russia over the South Ossetia region, where ethnic Ossetian separatists broke from Georgian control in the early 1990s.

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