According to a report by AFP, Archbishop Garmou is delighted that Iran is such an oasis of peace in a region beset by war where Christians face mounting persecution.
“Thanks to God, we really live in peace and security, but our neighbors live in anguish and violence. We pray for them tonight,” he said.
The report described Iran as one of the safest places for Christians throughout the region and said they can freely celebrate Christmas.
“Tehran might not seem like the most obvious pit stop for Santa Claus, but Iranians love the chintzy side of Christmas and it is also one of the safest places in the Middle East for Christians,” it said.
The report added that Christians in Iran observe their traditions in a free and respectful way and go shopping for the New Year just like in all Christian countries.
It noted that shoppers have been flocking to various shops during the past month to “pick up fake trees, and stock up on baubles, reindeer toys and plastic snowmen.”
The report also said that Christians are officially recognized and protected - along with Jews and Zoroastrians – in accordance with the Islamic Republic’s laws.
It went on to say that Christians in Iran do not share the concerns of Christians in neighboring countries, adding, “There are none of those concerns at St Joseph's Catholic Church in downtown Tehran on Christmas Eve.”