Iran News ...


04/26/12

Iran's St. Thaddeus Church to undergo restoration

Source: Tehran Times

Parts of the St. Thaddeus Church, one of Iran's most interesting and notable Christian monuments, are scheduled to be restored before autumn.

A number of stones in the facade of the church and some of the rooms surrounding the courtyard will be refurbished, West Azerbaijan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (WACHTHD) Deputy Director Khosro Fari told the Persian service of the Iranian Students News Agency on Monday.

WACHTHD experts also plan to make major repairs on a mill building adjacent to the church in order to prepare it for public display. The mill machinery was repaired over the last year.

The WACHTHD has allocated 2 billion rials (about $110,000 million) for the new phase of restorations on the monument.

The restorations are parts of a project that commenced in early 2011, Fari said.

One of the towers in the northeast of the church and its two domes were renovated last year. In addition, the courtyard of the church also was refurbished.

Located near the Chalderan region in Maku, West Azerbaijan Province, the St. Thaddeus Church, also known as Qara Kelissa (The Black Church), was registered on the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2008.

In July 2010, the Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN), an independent Iranian news bureau, released a report lamenting the delay in removing the scaffolds and metal buttresses set up by the former Iranian government over 30 years ago.

According the report, the supports defaced the monument.

The scaffolds and buttresses were set up to restore the ceiling and the dome of the church, but the restoration remained incomplete due to the fall of the regime in 1979.

Experts had said that the dome and ceiling would collapse if the scaffolding and buttresses were removed.

One of the 12 disciples, St. Thaddeus, also known as St. Jude, (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot), was martyred while spreading the Gospel. As legend has it, a church dedicated to him was first built on the present site in 68 CE.

A large part of the church was destroyed during the Genghis Khan invasion. However, Persian scientist Nasir ad-Din Tusi, who was a scientific adviser of the Mongols during the reign of Hulegu Khan (c. 1217-1265), grandson of Genghis Khan, restored it.

Each year, Christians from all over the world gather at the church on July 1 for their annual commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Thaddeus.

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