ARMENIAN PILGRIMS TO VISIT ST. THADDEUS CHURCH IN IRAN
July 14, 2012 – 19:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Iran’s Qara Kelisa will honor the memory of Saint
Thaddeus and his faithful followers during a ceremony in the northern
province of West Azarbaijan, according to Press TV.
Scores of Armenians, Assyrians and Catholics from Iran and other
countries will attend the annual event as part of their pilgrimage
on the Day of St. Thaddeus.
Qara Kelisa, also known as the St. Thaddeus Church, is one of the
oldest and most notable surviving Christian monuments in Iran that
carries great significance for the country’s Armenian Orthodox
community, the report says.
Armenians hold that Qara Kelisa is the world’s first church and was
constructed in 68 CE 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.
Qara Kelisa, which literally means Black Church, has been registered
as the ninth Iranian historical-cultural heritage site on the United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO)
World Heritage List.
The church is composed of two parts: a black structure, the original
building of the church from which it takes its name and a white
structure, the main church, which was added to the original building’s
western wing in 1810 CE.
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.
The structure was inscribed along with two other monastic ensembles
of the Armenian Christian faith namely St. Stepanos and the Chapel