(Persia Digest) – Director of the Unesco World Heritage Center for the churches of Iran announced: “We intend to register the religious ceremony of the Thaddeus Monastery in Azerbaijan, northeastern Iran, as a Unesco Intabgible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
Center Director, Shirley Avdian, said: “The religious ceremony (Badrak) held at the Monastery was registered nationally four years ago. We now intend to have this registered by Unesco. In 2018, the Thaddeus Monastery is also celebrating the tenth anniversary of its registration as a world heritage site.”
She added: “On the occasion of this tenth anniversary, the ceremony will be held more magnificently than ever before in mid-June.”
Persia Digest reports that Thaddeus was an apostle of Christ who was born in Armenia in 40 CE. He converted many people to Christianity, including the King of Armenia (Santarec) and his daughter (Sandokht). The King, however, regretted his conversion later and ordered the execution of Thaddeus, his daughter, and a group of people who had converted to the faith.
In 302 CE, under the reign of Tirdad in Armenia, Christianity became the official religion of the country. Christian Armenians who had remembered the deaths of Thaddeus and the King’s daughter with stories handed down generation by generation, built churches along the route they had tried to escape from. Thaddeus Monastery is one of these. Its followers believe that this was the first church built by the apostles of Christ in the world. They consider martyrdom as the biggest blessing for mankind and celebrate the death of Thaddeus in June every year at this church.
Armenians from around the world, such as Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Holland, France, Austria, Germany, Canada, and other countries travel here every year to take part in the ceremonies.