Armenians living in the Transcaucasion region now part of the Soviet Union were introduced to Christianity in about 300 A.
GV EXTERIOR Armenian church in Teheran PAN DOWN TO worshippers entering church
CU INTERIOR altar and nave of church
CU priest and congregants lighting candles (TWO SHOTS)
GV congregation including women in veils
GV celebrant Artak Manoukian preparing for Mass
CU crosses on altar and golden crucifix
GV clergy at altar of church
CU members of congregation seated
GV priests sprinkling incense and giving blessing
CU hands break bread into wine
CU silver cross with china cat beside it PULL OUT TO Armenian family saying prayers in their home in Teheran
CU male member takes glass, removes bread and passes glass to person sitting next to him
CU head of family eating food
GV family seated at table
CU child at table
MV Father dancing PULL OUT TO remainder of family clapping
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Background: Armenians living in the Transcaucasion region now part of the Soviet Union were introduced to Christianity in about 300 A.D. And although Armenian emigrants and refugees have spread throughout Asia, The Middle East and many European nations their ancient religious traditions have remained with them, everywhere they've travelled.
SYNOPSIS: In Iran alone there's a closely knit community of 250,000 Armenians who have kept up their Christian religious practises, despite the declaration of an Islamic Republic under the Ayatollah Khomeiny. The Armenian's church is called the Armenian Apostolic church and its members say their ancestors were the first to become christians as a nation. On Easter Sunday (15 April) many Armenians worshipped in Teheran at the Soorb Sarkisse church.
The priest in charge of the Armenian community in Iran, Artak Manoukian conducted the mass.
The Armenian church generally shares the beliefs of other Eastern Orthodox religions, but it has some unique aspects. The cross is highly revered but in comparison to the Greek Orthodox Church..the Armenians have few icons in their churches.
Services rely heavily on four holy books which outline the worship.
The family plays an important role in religious worship. And a strong devotion to the church in family rites has helped keep the Armenian community united in spite of the political divisions which separate the people. After the ritual of Easter worship Armenians in their homes continue to celebrate Christ's resurrection.