Armenians in Iran gathered for the 64th annual religious ceremony in St. Thaddeus Monastery in Chaldoran northwest of Iran, Iran Front Page reports.
“Iranian government officials are attempting to provide religious minorities with prosperity,” he was quoted as saying in a report by IRNA.
He then referred to the Islamic Republic’s efforts to reconstruct the holy sites of the religious minorities in Iran and said the St. Thaddeus Complex in Chaldoran in which Armenians hold their annual gathering has been reconstructed and refurbished by the Islamic Republic.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Holy Mass, he said the Islamic Republic played a key role in preparing the ground for holding the annual gathering.
“Under the guidelines of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei, there is no restriction on religious minorities for practicing their religions in Iran,” he said.
Thousands of Armenians from Iran and other nations including Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Germany and Canada took part in the three-day event which began on July 14.
The Holy Mass is held to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Saint Thaddeus — one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
During the ceremony, the worshippers perform religious practices, including sacrificing sheep, lighting candles, baptism of infants, etc.
Scores of Armenians, Assyrians and Catholics from Iran and other countries attend the annual event as part of their pilgrimage on the Day.
St. Thaddeus Church is one of the oldest and most notable surviving Christian monuments of Iran that has great significance for the country’s Armenian Orthodox community.
Bishop Chiftjian said that next week during his speeches in the US, he will serve as Iran’s cultural ambassador to inform the whole world of the deep respect paid by the Islamic Republic to religious minorities in the country.