Tehran’s Armenian Church of Saints Teddy and Bartholomew

Below are a number pictures sent to Kavehfarrokh.com by Professor George Nercessian of the church of Saints Teddy and Bartholomew in Tehran. This is the oldest church of Tehran which was built at the turn of the 19th century, during the Qajar era.

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[Click to Enlarge] Various views of the Church of Saints Teddy and Bartholomew (Courtesy: George Nercession).

The Church is located deep inside the Bazaar, near Mowlavi street which used to be located outside the walls of the city on the way to Shah-abd-ul-Azim.

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[Click to Enlarge] Tombstones of British citizens: (A) a very interesting tombstone dated to October 28, 1841, belonging to Charles Scott, son of Sir Walter Scott who was a member of the British Legation in Tehran. (B)resting place of the Revered Glen who is described as the “Translator of the Persian Bible” on his tombstone (C) Tombstone of British Ambassador Charles Alison. Known as a recluse and eccentric, Alison dressed like local Tehranis at the time. He was fluent in Persian, Arabic and Turkish. As Armenians were the only persons with churches in Tehran, Christian foreigners or “Farangis”, would be interned in the Armenian churches at the time (Courtesy: George Nercession).

The builders of the church are also buried inside the church. Note that Prince Alexander of Georgia (Eskandar Mirza) who fought alongside Iran to fight against the Russian invasion of Georgia and the Caucasus, is buried at the churchyard.

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[Click to Enlarge] Views from the interior of the church. The ornamental painting on the wall of the niche has been recently discovered as this had been whitewashed for over a century. The painter was Hovhannes Khan Naqqash (Courtesy: George Nercession). Note that the Persian term “Naqqash” mean painter.

Sadly, few people visit this historic but little known, church. On a more positive note, the Prelacy has organised a tour of this church. Every last Sunday of each month a bus leaves the prelacy for a visit of this church. The environment of the church is serene and is said to be an ideal place for meditation.

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[Click to Enlarge] Plaque in Persian, Armenian and English describing the history of the Church of Saints Teddy’s and Bartholomew in Tehran (Courtesy: George Nercession).