5th-century church undergoes another round of restoration 

July 27, 2021 - 21:37

TEHRAN –A fresh round of restoration work has been commenced on the Saint Hovhannes Church in the city of Maragheh, East Azarbaijan province. 

A budget of three billion rials ($71,400 at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) has been allocated to the project, Maragheh tourism chief Yaqub Talebi said on Tuesday. 

The project involves repairing the arches and rooftop as well as restoring the adjoining premises of the church, the official explained. 
 
Over the past four years, the historical church has undergone several rounds of restoration, costing some 10 billion rials ($238,000) to date, he added.  

Constructed in the 5th century, Saint Hovhannes Church is Maragheh city’s only church, which was popular during the Ilkhanid era (1256–1353), when Maragheh was one of the Iranian prosperous cities.

The church is an Armenian Catholic church named after one of the apostles called Johannes or John, also known as Hovhannes in the Armenian language.

Sait Hovhannes Church has three sections, the Archbishop’s residence, a school, and an altar. The church’s domed entrance is in its west wing, which is a conical-shaped dome with a steel cover holding the bell.

The main space of the church is a rectangle with an altar in its east wing. Lighting is provided by the main entrance and small windows in the eastern, northern, and western walls. A string of one-story buildings has been constructed in the west wing of the courtyard which is now derelict. Other rooms, which were used by the poor, are also seen around the courtyard. 

The original building has been destroyed many times throughout history, but the present structure was built in 1840 by French and Russian architects.

However, in recent years, the church has been abandoned due to the migration of Armenians to Tehran and other cities.

Iran is home to several ancient and historical churches. Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are the most significant religious minorities in the country with Christians constituting the bulk.

ABU/AFM


 

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