Esfahan Vank Cathedral2


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The first monastery in Joulfa was built in 1606 and included a little church called Amna Perkich, which means 'All Healing.' The little church was later expanded and turned into the magnificently designed Vank Cathedral, which was built 50 years later under the supervision of Archbishop David

Published in: Travel, Spiritual
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  • Vank Cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in the city's Jolfa district by Armenian immigrants settled by Shah Abbas I after the Ottoman War of 1603-1605. The varying fortunes and independence of this suburb across the Zayandeh River and its eclectic mix of European missionaries, mercenaries and travelers can be traced almost chronologically in the cathedral's combination of building styles and contrasts in its external and internal architectural treatment.
  • Construction is believed to have begun in 1606, and completed with major alterations to design between 1655 and 1664 under the supervision of Archbishop David. The cathedral consists of a domed sanctuary, much like a Persian mosque, but with the significant addition of a semi-octagonal apse and raised chancel usually seen in western churches. The cathedral's exteriors are in relatively modern brickwork and are exceptionally plain compared to its elaborately decorated interior.
  • the interior is covered with fine paintings and gilded carvings and includes a wainscot of rich tile work. The delicately blue and gold painted central dome depicts the Biblical story of creation of the world and man's expulsion from Eden. Pendentives throughout the church are painted with a distinctly Armenian motif of a cherub's head surrounded by folded wings. The ceiling above the entrance is painted with delicate floral motifs in the style of Persian miniature. Two sections, or bands, of murals run around the interior walls: the top section depicts events from the life of Jesus, while the bottom section depicts tortures inflicted upon Armenian martyrs by the Ottoman Empire.
  • Esfahan Vank Cathedral2

    1. 1. Esfahan Vank Cathedral
    2. 3. Holy Savior Cathedral, also known as Vank Cathedral, is a cathedral in Isfahan. (Vank means "cathedral" in the Armenian language). The Vank Cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in the city's Jolfa district by Armenian immigrants settled by Shah Abbas I after the Ottoman War of 1603-1605.
    3. 5. Following the Ottoman war of 1603-1605, Armenians began to arrive in Iran in search of a new life under the Safavid King Shah Abbas I. Shah Abbas I, who settled tens of thousands of them in the Iranian provinces south of Aras River, also relocated Armenians, who had fled from the Ottoman massacre in Nakhchivan to Iran.  Nakhchivan suffered a lot during the 14th to 18th century wars between Persia and the Ottoman Empire. The city fell under Safavid rule in the 16th century. 
    4. 7. In 1604, when Shah Abbas I realized that the lands of Nakhchivan and its surrounding areas might fall into Ottoman hands, he decided to force the entire Muslim, Jewish and Armenian population of the city to leave their homes and move to Iran.  The Armenian immigrants settled in Isfahan, the capital of the Safavid Dynasty, and populated the city's New Jolfa district, which was named after their original homeland in today's Azerbaijan Republic. Upon entering Iran, Armenian refugees started building churches and monasteries to continue their religious activities in their new home. 
    5. 9. A large freestanding belfry stands in the cathedral courtyard and towers over the graves of Orthodox and Protestant Christians who have been buried along the wall before the entrance. On the right side of the belfry there is a large blue inscription surrounded by crucifix stones. The stones have been collected from the ruined churches of the Jolfa quarter.
    6. 28. The bottom parts of the interior walls are covered with paintings depicting Armenians being tortured by the Ottoman Turks.
    7. 36. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing his church. The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church traces its origins to the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century.
    8. 37. The Vank printing house is known as the first of its kind in Iran and the Middle East. The first book published at Vank was about the lives of Armenian priests and monks, a few prints of which are now kept at the Vank museum.
    9. 38. The early printing machine, which was built by Bishop Khachatoor, was replaced by a new one brought from Amsterdam in 1647. Later in 1844, an Armenian resident of Jolfa brought another printing machine from Europe, which is also housed at Vank Museum. The first book printed by the machine was the Psalms of David, which is now kept at Oxford's Bodleian Library.
    10. 42. Iranian-Armenians, sometimes called Persian-Armenians, are Iranian citizens of Armenian origin. Their number is about 100,000. They mostly live in Tehran and Jolfa district, Isfahan. The Iranian-Armenians were very influential and active in the modernization of Iran during the 19th and 20th centuries. After the Iranian Revolution, many Armenians immigrated to Armenian diasporas communities in North America and Western Europe.
    11. 43. I nternet image
    12. 51. Today the Armenians are Iran's largest Christian religious minority. Although Armenians have a long history of interaction with Persia/Iran, Iran's Armenian community emerged when Shah Abbas relocated tens of thousands of Armenians from Nakhichevan to an area of Isfahan called New Julfa in the early 17th century, which was created to become an Armenian quarter. The community became active in the cultural and economic development of Iran. In addition to having their own churches and clubs, Armenians of Iran are one of the few linguistic minorities in Iran with their own schools
    13. 52. S ound: Iranian Christian Worship Song Iran Text : Internet Pictures: Vank Cathedral Sanda Foişoreanu Arangement : Sanda Foişoreanu
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