On Friday afternoon, I got myself into Saint Sarkis Cathedral, in Tehran, at Karimkhan Zand Street, at the beginning of Nejatollahi Street, where the a group of Iranian Armenians in the neighborhood were holding the Christian rite of Eucharist (also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper).
The rite is a symbolic commemoration of Jesus Christ’s last supper with 12 disciples.
It is 47 years since the Cathedral has been opened to Armenian people while the area was much longer before owned by the Armenian community of Tehran.
In 1945, at the time that around 230,000 Armenians lived in Iran, the prelacy of Armenians in Tehran was opened in the building located at the yard of the cathedral.
On the windows directed toward Karimkhan Zand Street, the glasses were decorated with paints and colors. Church’s exterior and interior walls as well as the floor are beautifully covered with white marble.
As the outdoor of the cathedral was decorated with Christmas trees, many Armenians and Muslims visiting the place posed for photos in front of the decorations.
I asked an old man what is behind lighting candles in the church and he told me that the ones who light candles are wishing for good things and praying for what they demand from God. Some are praying for the health of their dear ones and some are wishing good things happen to them.
There are beautiful paintings hung on the walls of the cathedral, all of them with biblical themes and portraits of Jesus Christ.
As the evening got darker and darker the population convening in the place increased.
They left their alms at a box carried by a woman in the church costume and there were some other boxes around the church that the participants could leave their alms.
As it is the part of a Eucharistic, those leaving the church could pick a small bite of bread and wine placed on a table in front of the door. Next to the bread and wine tray there was a stack of postcards and those who were leaving could pick a postcard with a picture of Holy Mary holding the infant Jesus Christ in her arms, with Armenian words printed on the back of the illustration extending greetings and wishing a prosperous year for the followers of the church in the new year of 2018.
At the end of the ceremony, just before the lights were turned off, I asked one the Armenian priests attending the ceremony that how they felt in Iran as a minority group.
His response surprised me when he said that he did not feel to be a minority and he felt as a landlord in Iran. "Minority is a group of people who are fed by the toil of the majority but the Armenians have always been contributive. Pay attention how many Armenians were martyred during the eight years of Holy Defense and put the number beside the percentage of the population of them in comparison with the total population of Iran.”
"Armenians have always been positive players in Iran and there have always been many entrepreneurs and technicians of Armenian community in the society,” he boasted.