News ID: 256432
Published: 0219 GMT July 27, 2019

More than 3,000 take part in St. Thaddeus Monastery ceremony

More than 3,000 take part in St. Thaddeus Monastery ceremony

More than 3,000 Armenians from Iran and other parts of the world, attended Badarak religious ceremony in Chaldoran, Director of West Azarbaijan Province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department Jalil Jabbari said on Saturday.

Jabbari said in an interview with IRNA on Saturday that St. Thaddeus Monastery ceremony was held in the church with the participation of Armenians and other guests.

This year, the 65th Badarak ceremony took place on July 25–27 in the Qara Kelisa (St. Thaddeus Church) and pilgrims from various countries attended the event.

Qara Kelisa, also known as the St. Thaddeus Church, in Chaldoran County, northwestern Iran is one of the oldest and most notable surviving Christian monuments in Iran that carries great significance for the country's Armenian Orthodox community.

Armenians hold that Qara Kelisa is one of the oldest churches in the world and was constructed by one of the apostles of Jesus, Saint Thaddeus, who traveled to Armenia, then part of the Persian Empire, to preach the teachings of Christ.

The Qara Kelisa Complex, which includes the three churches of Qara Kelisa, St. Stephanous and Dzordzor, was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2008.

An ancient chapel two kilometers northwest of the church is said to have been the place where the first Christian woman, Sandokh, was martyred. The chapel is believed to be as old as Qara Kelisa.


Religious minorities' freedom in Iran

Holding the Qara Kelisa (Black Church) Complex annual religious ceremony of Armenians is the symbol of religious minorities' freedom in exercising their rituals in Iran.

The head of Azarbaijan Armenian Caliphate Council said "religious ceremonies are rarely held with such a glory and number of pilgrims in Christian and non-Christian countries."

Rubik Jananeh added "Iran's attention to preserving religious sacred sites of various religions and preparing proper grounds for holding special ceremonies in an appropriate way show how the country respects the followers of divine religions."

He said although Qara Kelisa is situated in the suburb of Chaldoran County, the arrangements for holding the ceremony have been made to provide a tranquil and secure place for the pilgrims.”

Jananeh pointed to the negative propaganda of Iran's enemies concerning violating the rights of ethnic groups and said, "When ambassadors, researchers, pilgrims and visitors from around the world participate in the event and realize how it is held gloriously and calmly, they emphasize that Iran is a safe country and has kind-hearted and hospitable people."


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