The Church of Holy Mary
Freedom of conscience and religion has a deep historical root in Iran and is in fact intertwined with the Iranian culture. Religious minorities lived freely and no restriction were imposed on them on the part of the religious majority before and after Islam became the dominant religion in this land. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the religious minorities have enjoyed more religious freedom. According to historians, divine religions have always been paid their due respect in this land. Christians too have been living freely in Iran since the pre-Islamic era. History of Iranian Christians bears testimony to this fact. There are some famous, ancient churches in Iran such as the Church of Holy Mary in Urmeah, Church of Vank in Isfahan and the
Church of Holy Tadeus in Maku. Being the oldest church in Iran, the Church of Holy Mary is also considered as one of the oldest churches in the world.
It is said that Church of Holy Mary is the second most famous churc in the world after the Church of Bethlehem in the birthplace of Jesus, i.e. Palestine.
Among other famous Churches in Iran is the Church of Vank in Jolfa, Isfahan. The church reflects some of the most attractive features of Iranian architecture. The drawings at the church are demonstrative of the taste of skillful Iranian artists. One can observe the passgage of time on the walls of the church of Vank. The well-known church museum with its magnificent builing stands as a token of briliant Iranian architecture in the Safavid era.
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