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Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran

Saint Sarkis Cathedral is a religious place with a special mood and impressive decorations known as the largest church in Tehran

Introduction about Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral

In this article, we intend to introduce you to the Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran.


This article is one of the articles on the Hoteloneclick site that helps tourists get to know Tehran tourist attractions better.


inside of  Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran - HotelOneClick


In this article, we will try to give you all the details of Saint Sarkis Cathedral Tehran which is one of the tourist attractions in Tehran.

This article is in fact the travel guide of Sarkis Church in Tehran.


In this article, you will be introduced to the entrances, architecture, courtyard space and history of this church and see other tourists' ideas about it.


Finally, we will outline the routes to this church. HotelOneClick team hopes you enjoy reading this tourist guide.


Why is the Saint Sarkis Cathedral a tourist attraction in Tehran?

Today we want to take to the streets of the capital and reach the Holy Church of Sarkis in Tehran, a religious place with a special mood and impressive decorations known as the largest church in Tehran.


We will take you inside this church and provide you with information such as the hours of visiting Saint Sarkis Cathedral.

Be with Hoteloneclick and stroll into the most beautiful church of Tehran to immerse yourself in peace and spirituality.


The main reasons for choosing the Saint Sarkis Cathedral as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tehran can be as follows:

  • It is one of the most beautiful churches in the capital.
  • It has the title of the largest church in Tehran.
  • It displays a combination of modern and medieval architecture of Armenia.


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Saint Sarkis church is one of the most beautiful amusement places in Tehran. If you have not yet traveled to Tehran, you can select the Tehran Hotels by booking Tehran hotels.

Entrance door of  Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran at night - HotelOneClick

Meet Saint Sarkis Cathedral: Symbol of Christianity of Tehran

Saint Sarkis Cathedral is an Armenian church located in the heart of Tehran since 1970.


The church was built by an Armenian benefactor, Markar Sarkisian, designed by the engineer Eugene Aftandilian.

The white facade of this building is very relaxing and its upright stature gives your eyes a splendid glow.


Before this church was built, the Armenian Caliphate was located in the Holy Mary Church but was moved to the site after the completion of the construction of the Holy Sarkis Church.


The Caliphate of the Armenians of Tehran is a religious authority and organization responsible for administering the affairs of the Armenians in Tehran and the northern part of the country.


This church is responsible for managing the affairs of churches, schools, cemeteries, and overseeing the cultural and social life of the Armenians in Tehran.

 After the relocation of this religious authority building to Saint Sarkis, it is referred to as a symbol of Tehran's Christianity.


Entrance door of  Saint Sarkis Cathedral form Karim Khan street in Tehran - HotelOneClick

The architecture of the saint Sarkis Church

Saint Sarkis Cathedral is 36.5 meters’ length and 17.8 meters’ width and is referred to as the largest church in Tehran.


Engineer Aftandlian was inspired by medieval and modern Armenian architecture to build the saint Sarkis Cathedral but has also made significant changes to these two styles of architecture.

The church was built on the basilica plan. The basilica is divided into large, cross-shaped churches.


In the church of St. Sarkis the trustee houses of the two sides of the altar are on the east side of the building and the main entrance corridor is located on the west.

How these elements are put together makes the church have a cruciform plan from the inside.


The building owes its white facade to the white marble that is used on its exterior wall.

The interior walls and ceiling are also covered with plaster, and therefore the interior is in good harmony with the exterior.


Here are some sections of this church:


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Holy Icon of Mary in Saint Sarkis Cathedral - HotelOneClick

 1. The dome

The Church of St. Sarkis was built in a single-nave style; the designer knew well that in the single-nave churches the weight of the ceiling was inserted into the longitudinal walls of the building by the arches beneath the ceiling.

For this reason, these buildings can not be too wide because they are difficult to bear the weight of the roof. Such structures are usually small, dome-less buildings, while the Church of the Holy Sacrifice is both large and dome-shaped.

It illustrates the architect's ingenuity, combining the architecture of the single-nave churches with the architecture of the dome-like halls to place a large dome on it, a dome that is placed on the roof without any support as if it is suspended in the air.

There are no arches in this church, and the designer has used a type of girder in the structure called Shah Tir to transfer the weight of the roof and dome.

Eight horizontal girders have been used in the church, which are mounted on eight columns and have supports inside the walls.

In other words, the designer has moved the pillars we see in churches with domed walls into the walls and has used a new way of mounting the dome on the building.


The dom in Saint Sarkis Cathedral

2. Bell House

 The Church of St. Sarkis has two bell houses, located on either side of the church's western entrance and above the building's entrance.

The bell towers have quadrilateral plans, with domes like the main dome of the church with octagonal legs.


The church's architect has been inspired by the bell house of St. Sarkis Church in Yerevan.

Above the entrances and beneath the bell towers, there are skylights like other skylights that open towards the indoor of the towers.


Bell house  in Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral
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3. Church entrance

The entrances of the Church of St. Sarkis are located on the west wall.

A larger main entrance is in the middle and two smaller entrances are found on both the north and south sides.

These two small entrances are behind the main entrance and under the bell towers.


Unlike other parts of the church, the wall had a large cross-shaped glass facade that was changed after the demolition during the imposed war.

Because the church is built on a relatively short platform, the designer has built stairs in the west that are opposite the entrance to the church.


To enter the church, we pass through the main entrance and its tall porch, built in the style of Armenian 4th and 5th century churches.

We then walk down the corridor with the width of the church altar and see a balcony that is used to perform choir songs.


church entrance of  in Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral
Nave space  in Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral

5. Altar

The church's altar is semicircular and is built on the eastern side of the Armenian Church.

The floor of this part is higher than the church floor and there is a small skylight.


The upper walls of the altar and its two sides are adorned with paintings.

The themes of these paintings are taken from the Bible and done by Edman Ayvazyan.


Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral altar
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Rememberance of the Armenian Genocide

On the outside of the church, there is a white marble structure of 3.5 meters high and is based on the same stone.

May 1973 was the 58th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which was unveiled.


At the base of this structure, there is an inscription with a width of 77 cm and the height of 66 cm on which is written in Nastaʿlīq Persian language as well as in Armenian: "Armenian Martyrs' Memorial" and below that is the date "April 24, 1915" in the Armenian language.


The monument of the Armenian genocide of St. Sarkis Church is specially designed and has many signs in it:

The composite design of the three pieces of stones symbolizes the Armenian religious belief that a nation went to slaughter to preserve it.


Stones with crosses or Khachkar symbolize the resurrection of Christ and symbolize martyrdom and uprising; just as Christ rose from the dead, the Armenian nation also tolerated slaughter, and dispersal to be reborn and inaugurated the independent state of Armenia in 1918 after it endured the domination of aliens for many centuries.


The rest of the monument's designs as a whole show the spirit of freedom, perseverance, adherence to religion, and belief in the triumph of truth.


Memorial of April 24, 1915 in Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral

The history of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian genocide refers to the deliberate and pre-planned annihilation of the Armenian population living in Ottoman-controlled territories during World War I (1915 to 1917), which was perpetrated by the Ottoman men's government and the leaders of the Young Turks.


 It has been so bitter that it has been given other titles such as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian massacre and the Great Crime, and is remembered as one of the first genocides of the twentieth century.


The operation was carried out in the form of mass killings and forced exile that resulted in the death toll of between one to one and a half million.


In addition to the arrest and execution of Armenians, a large population of Armenian men, women, and children were also exiled from their homes and forced to march on distant deserts without any access to water or food.


During these forced deportations, there are also reports of rape and sexual harassment by the hostile forces.


Monument to the Armenian Martyrs in  Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral
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The tomb of Bishop Ardak Manoukian

Next to the Armenian Genocide Memorial is the tomb of the late Bishop Ardak Manoukian, a former Armenian Caliph of Tehran.

He was born in Beirut on January 22, 1931, and passed away in Tehran on October 5, 1999.


He was the Archbishop of the Armenians of Tehran from 1961 to 1999 and taught Armenian language and literature at Tehran University.


Ardak Manoukian was recognized as the religious leader of the Armenians in Tehran in 1959 and during his serving the Holy Targmanchats Church, the Holy Sarkis church and the Saint Gregory Church in Tehran, and Saint Mesrop Church in Rasht were built.


His 34 book titles include religious, ethical, historical and research topics, some of which are: Armenian Church Feasts, Shadows, The Role water in religious ceremonies, Memories of a Stone, Culture and Religion and more.


Christmas fest at Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral

History of Saint Sarkis Church

The second half of the twentieth century brought special developments to the capital, including the influx of Armenian immigrants to Tehran, causing their population to grow significantly.

Armenians scattered throughout the city creating new Armenian neighborhoods in various parts of Tehran.


Since 1945, the Church of the St. Mary in the Hassan Abad neighborhood was considered the Armenian Cathedral, and the Caliphate was also located in a building adjacent to it and did Armenians affairs in Tehran.

This increase in the population of St. Mary's Church led to a shortage of space and the idea of building a new church came up.


Of course, it was not the only reason for the construction of a new church, and on the other hand, the relocation of Armenians and their dispersal throughout the city reduced the number of Christians in the southern neighborhoods of Tehran.


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At that time, all churches were concentrated in the south of the capital, and as a result, Armenians had difficulty accessing new neighborhoods, especially in the north of Tehran at that time, in other words, the Yousefabad neighborhood.


This has also led to the need to build a more accommodating church in the vicinity of new neighborhoods and buildings with larger space for Armenians to do their work in Tehran.


The Armenian Caliphate in Tehran, with the help of Mark Sarkisian, purchased land for the construction of churches and Caliphate buildings.

The land was at the intersection of Karim Khan Zand and Villa streets and was more centralized among the Armenian neighborhoods of Tehran.


old image from Saint Sarkis Cathedral in many years ago in Tehran


The design of the church building was left to engineer Eugene Aftandilian, and after the death of Sarkisian, his children, Gurgen and Vasgen, funded the construction of the church and the caliphate buildings.


On April 3, 1964, the church started to be buit.

The ceremony was attended by Ardak Manoukian, the Bishop of the Armenians of Tehran, the clergy of the Armenian Church, and a large crowd of Armenians in Tehran.


Engineer Aftandilian presented a special plan for the church.

Six others were invited to continue the construction work to submit the construction plan and estimate the cost.


The imposing war caused damage to the church, and during the rocket fire near the church all the glass on the western wall collapsed. Restoration of this part of the church was done using marble and a wall with three small skylights was built there.


After a while, cracks in the roof were created and their condition deteriorated with the rain.

At this time, considerations were carried out and they found that the girders were not capable of withstanding the weight of the ceiling and dome.


As a result of this problem, a church named "Ruben Sarkisian" was commissioned for nineteen months in August 1981 (August 1981) to repair it.

He erected four columns to reinforce the girders beneath the quadrangle of the dome, and the church was reopened in March 1983.


In 2012, repairs were made inside and outside the church, during which the baptismal pool was rebuilt on the eastern corner of the north wall of the building.


old image on 1973 in Tehran from Saint Sarkis Cathedral at Karim Khan Zand street
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Access roads

Address: Nejatollahi Ave., Karim Khan Zand Ave., Tehran

1. Personal Car Access

This church is in traffic restricted area and you should consider this when using a personal car to get there.

To use public transport, you can choose one of these ways:

 2. Buses

There are several lines that cross the Karim Khan Zand Street and you can reach the church at the nearest bus stop.

3. Subway

Get to the Ostad Nejatollahi Station and get to the church after a little walk.

4. Taxi

Use taxis that take you to Valiasr Square or Haft Tir Square and from there you can reach the church by taking another taxi.



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Visiting Hours

Every day from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Important note: Be sure to call 021-88901634 before going to church and make sure this place is open.


This place belongs to the followers of Christianity and at certain times Muslims may be restricted from entering it.

Again, you need to make sure you are allowed to get into the church before you go.


light the candle at Saint Sarkis Cathedral  in Tehran

Arrival customs

The church is a sacred place for Christians, so show respect while you are there. Photographing and talking with friends is prohibited in the church.

If you are going to light a candle in this church, you should buy it from a church shop in the yard because there are narrow and special candles.


Eating and drinking and especially chewing gum in the church are forbidden.

You should not put glasses on the top of your head when attending church.


Do not put your leg on the other leg while sitting in the church; this is a kind of disrespect.

Try to take advantage of this place's spiritual atmosphere and avoid excessive talk, sound production, and inappropriate activity.


arrival customs in  Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral

The reason for naming the church

Saint Sarkis was a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church who served as a Roman army commander in the early fourth century and was wanted for being a Christian.


He went to Armenia with his son Mardyrus to save his life, but Tiran, the then Armenian king could not accept them due to the pressure of the Roman emperor.

Thus, they served in the army of Shapur II, who was at war with the Kushan empire.


Shapour was very happy with Sarkis' serving, but when he was accused of preaching Christianity in Shapur's army, he ordered that he and his son be killed with a number of soldiers in Neyshabur.

The church is also named after him.


old and historical paintings at Tehran Saint Sarkis Cathedral
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Tourists comments on the Church of St. Sarkis

Here's a look at foreign tourists' views of the Church of the St. Sarkis published on one of the valid tourism websites, TripeAdvisor:


Tourist from Austria - Date of visit, December 2017

A beautiful Armenian Orthodox church

I was immersed in the beauty of this church in the middle of Tehran. A work that shows us how Iranians respect other religions. St. Sarkis is a beautiful and historic church.


Ivano from Canada - Date of visit, June 2017

Very magnificent and beautiful

This is a famous church where Christians come and pray in Tehran. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful church and I suggest you do it.


American Tourist - Date of visit, July 2016

A typical Armenian cathedral

This is not really a very old cathedral here and its architecture is not that attractive. But this is an Armenian church located in Iran and it makes it interesting. You can skip visiting it!


Tourist from London - Date of visit, June 2016


I always had a special interest in Armenian heritage, and I got the chance to visit the largest Armenian church in Tehran.

It is one of 11 Armenian churches in the city.


Hoteloneclick recommendations

The Church of St. Sarkis is located at the beginning of Najatollahi Street, or villa; this street and its surrounding neighborhoods are full of cafes where you can taste a different kind of coffee.

If you're a fan of this drink, be sure to visit the cafés in the area.


Just after the church, there are shops that invite you to the colorful and authentic world of Iranian handicrafts.

You can also visit these shops and spend some time watching the spectacular crafts even if you are not into shopping.


main handicrafts center near to Church of St. Sarkis

Church ordinances

This church, like many other churches, holds many religious ceremonies. Here are two brief examples:


Baptism with holy oil

According to Christians at the time of the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus Christ, a sinful woman buys an expensive oil and bathes the feet of Jesus.

This oil falls into the hands of the apostles, and after the ascension of Jesus Christ, new oils were made and blended with the old oil.


As they traveled to preach and preach, people distributed portions of this oil for baptism, church cleansing, and blessing.

This oil is present in Beirut today and is blended with new oil every seven years to reach the Armenian churches around the world by a special ritual.


Holy oil is made from 40 to 49 plant species such as mustard, olive and fenugreek, and after blessing water with holy oil, Armenians drink it for blessings and health of patients.



The Divine Liturgy or the Lord's Supper or Thanksgiving is one of the seven sacred rituals practiced in almost all sects of Christianity, also called sacred division, the sacrament of the altar, and the blessed mystery.


The origin of this ritual is related to the last supper that Jesus Christ made with the apostles on the night of their arrest by Roman soldiers.

At the event, Christians celebrate and eat the bread that symbolizes the body of Christ with wine as a symbol of Christ's blood. They believe that by doing so, Christ will infiltrate their lives.


Tehran Sarkis church

Conclusions for Travel Guide at St. Sarkis Church in Tehran

Churches are among the most beautifully decorated places of worship that you will be immersed in joy when seeing them.

St. Sarkis Church is one of those that when you enter that you can get to know more or less about the culture of Christians in Iran and their architecture and art.


Have you ever visited the Holy Church of Sarkis? If so, write about your experience in the comments section and tell us a bit about it.

What other churches have you seen in Iran?


Also, if you have questions about Iranian churches, our counselors will answer you.

We look forward to your comments at the HotelOneClick.



Our references to prepare Saint Sarkis Cathedral Travel guide:

we have used many references to prepare this article. They are some of them in the following: