For centuries, Iran has been renowned for its rich Islamic cultural heritage. But Iran also has one of the oldest Christian churches in the world – the Armenian Black Church, or Kara Kilise in Farsi. The church that is formally named Monastery of Saint Thaddeus is a sacred place for Armenians.
Correspondent of the Press TV network in West Azerbaijan Province of Iran Arash Khatalbari covered the church in one of the network’s programs:
“The path to the temple goes through the mountains. It is located 20 km from the city of Maku, a city that is populated by many Armenians. The magnificent church is visible from afar. This monumental structure has stood here for thousands of years.
The grand building behind my back is the oldest Christian temple in the world. This church is called Kara Kilise. “Kara” in Turkish means “black”, and “Kilise” means “church” in Farsi.
The Black Church has collapsed many times in its history. But each time, it has been restored from the ruins.
Kara Kilise was founded in 66 AD, but the original building hasn’t been preserved. The walls that we see were built in the 7th century, as evidenced by their decorations.
The new church was built in 691. It was made of black stone. Soon, it collapsed again in an earthquake, due to which a new church had to be built in 800. The church was enlarged and complemented by new walls of white stone so that everyone could see its greatness.”
World Oldest Standing Church, St Thaddeus Armenian Church Iran