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Five Iranian Churches Put Up for UNESCO Registration

By Soudabeh Sadigh

Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) completed the file of Qara Kelisa alongside four other Iranian churches to be submitted to UNESCO for world registration.

St. Thaddeus Church or Qara Kelisa (Black Church)

Tehran, 23 January 2007 (CHN) -- In an attempt to inscribe ancient Iranian churches in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2008, experts of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) have prepared a dossier on St. Thaddeus Cathedral also known as Qara Kelisa (The Black Church) in West Azarbaijan province, alongside 4 other churches including Saint Stepanos in Khoy, Zoorzoor in Chaldoran, Choopan and Mary Darehsham to be submitted to UNEESCO next week for further studies.

Announcing this news, Mohammad Hassan Khademzadeh, expert of ICHTO and director of the mega project for documenting the file of Qareh Kelisa and its adjacent historic monument, said: "The files of these five churches have been completed and will be submitted to UNESCO's World Heritage Committee within two days and the committee will announce its final decision on these files in April 2007."

If the files win UNESCO's approval, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will dispatch a team of experts to Iran to make a visit to these monuments and prepare a report on their conditions.

Qara Kelisa had previously been nominated by Iran for UNESCO world registration in 2007; however, the file was rejected due to lack of substantial documents.

If UNESCO agrees with putting Qara Kelisa in its list of World Heritage Sites, Qara Kelisa would be the ninth Iranian monument in this list and the four other churches alongside Ziaolmolk Bridge and Khajeh Caravanserai would be as annexes to St. Thaddeus Cathedral after its registration.

The St. Thaddeus Church, locally known as Qara Kelisa or the Black Church, is considered one of the oldest churches in the world, whose construction began 1700 years ago. Historians believe that the Church is the tomb of Thaddeus who is said to have been one of Christ's disciples who traveled to Armenia, then part of the Persian Empire, for preaching the teachings of Christ.

This church has a worldwide reputation among the Armenian Christians of the world and every year a large number of Armenians come to this church for performing religious rituals.

... Payvand News - 1/24/07 ... --

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