Introduction to Saint Mary Church
Tabriz is a city with a solid history, which has both modernity and tradition. It is also a showcase of the most beautiful religious treasures. Where you will see both churches and mosques, each of which is considered a masterpiece of architecture. This city holds one of the most magnificent architectural masterpieces in its heart. Saint Mary Church is the largest and oldest church in Tabriz in which the national-religious ceremony of the Armenian Apostle is held.
History of Saint Mary Church
As the history engraved on one of the tombstones shows, Saint Mary Church dates back to the 16th century. It coincides with the Ronas in Europe. On the other hand, according to the decorations, the type of arch, and the architectural features used in it, it can be attributed to the 13th century AD, the same time as the rule of the Mongol Ilkhans in Persia. After the earthquake of Tabriz in 1780 AD, two years later, the church was rebuilt in the style of the Safavid era [according to the inscription installed inside, in 1782 AD]. Saint Mary Church in Tabriz includes a courtyard. It is good to mention that the first printing office was located in the area of this courtyard. In 1899, by the efforts of Bishop Stepanos Mokht-yarian, a printing press was developed to meet the needs of the Aramian School.
Architecture of The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tabriz is built in the style of Armenian architecture. This method of construction dates back to the seventh to ninth centuries AD in Armenia. The architecture of the church is cross-shaped. To get inside the church first, we must cross a rectangular space, on which the two church bells are attached. Like most Armenian churches, four thick stone pillars are built in the center of the main hall. These pillars act as a base for the central dome on the roof and support it. The walls are made of stone and brick, same as the arch, and the exterior is decorated with uncut stones and lime. After the Tabriz earthquake, this church was destroyed and turned into a ruin. The current church is built on the ruins of the former monument, in the Safavid style. The remaining materials are used to create the church again, according to the original plan. Reconstruction of the church began in 1782 and was completed in 1785.
Inside the church, you see the delightful images of Mary, Jesus, and the Christian apostles and saints. Of the four painted curtains above the four pillars, two were destroyed, and the remaining two are on the north and south pillars. Also, there were four leather paintings pasted on the wall. But now, there is no trace of them. The present masterpieces are worked on canvas. In this respect, it has made the church special among the churches of Persia.
Paintings done on canvas fabric and pasted on the wall are called canvas murals. In this case, the masterpieces on canvas becomes a part of the monument. If we detach them from the original place, the originality of the work will get impaired. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tabriz, and the churches of Vank and Maryam in Isfahan, are among the few churches in Persia you can find the unique, delightful canvas murals in them. The miniature style of the images belongs to the early 19th century in Persia. The canvas murals of the church are drawn in the European style with oil painting technique.