Tuesday, December 28, 2004

West Azarbaijan Churches Celebrate New Year

Iran Daily: "West Azarbaijan Churches Celebrate New Year


Saint Thaddeus Church, West Azarbaijan province

TEHRAN, Dec. 28--Petros and Poulos, Maryokhneh (Golan), Fanaei and Mardanial are among the oldest churches in West Azarbaijan province.
Petros and Poulos Church was built 10 kilometers on the road from Orumieh to Golmankhaneh port by Hakim Marbakhtishu, a physician in the court of Haroun Ar-Rashid, an Abbasid caliph in the eighth century AD.
It is the oldest Assyrian church named after Petros and Poulos who were close companions of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him).
The church, whose compound included a hospital and a library, was made of slate stones and gravel fixed in place with a mixture of lime and sandstones. The facade of the building was covered with plaster.
The gate of the church is located on the southern side. It is arched with plaster designs. The arch of the gate is decorated with stone in the form of a cradle.
Another church which is known as Maryokhneh is located in the village of Golan. It is a shrine for the Assyrians. It was built on the top of a mountain two kilometers from Golan.
According to Assyrian religious books, the church was built in the fifth century AD.
The building is an oblong structure with relatively wide stone walls and a gate without decoration. It embodies simplicity.
The facade of the building was plastered.
Mardanial Church is situated some 25 kilometers north of Orumieh on the top of a historical hill along Fazluchai River.
The church was built during the Sassanid era with sandstones in tawny color. It was destroyed during the First World War and was restored in recent years.
Fanaei Church is located in the suburbs of the city of Khoy in the village of Fanaei.
Fanaei church was constructed of gravel and slate stones. The arches are built on the wings of the church with a stone dome and a prayer house.
Fanaei Church was built during the Safavid era and it boasts of unique architecture and ornamental design.
The designs are mainly plaster works depicting flowers and shrubbery and the prayers house is also arched and very beautiful.
Special ceremonies are being held in the provincial churches on the auspicious occasion of birth of Christ-the messenger of peace and friendship.
Iran Daily takes the opportunity to greet fellow Christian citizens on the advent of the New Year. May God bless them to lead a prosperous life in Iran."

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