IRNA, Iran
December 30, 2004 Thursday 1:33 PM EST

Congratulations on the new Christian year

Tehran, December 30

Over 120,000 Armenians all over Iran are going to celebrate the
advent of new Christian year by holding special rituals tomorrow.

Armenians in Iran are followers of Gregorian church which is based in
Beirut, Lebanon.

They also hold their public rituals on the occasion of the new
Christian year in churches on January 6 which commemorates the date
in which the Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) was baptized.

Furthermore, the newly-born Armenian babies are taken to churches by
their Christian parents on the same day to be baptized by a
particular sacred water which has been brought to Iranian churches
from the base church in Beirut after travelling to the grand church
in Armenia.

Now that they are baptized, they officially become a member of the
Armenian community in Iran.

The Armenian families keep waiting for the sacred stale bread to be
delivered to their houses on January 6 and then warmly welcome the
priests who call on them for the new year celebrations on the same

The Islamic Republic News Agency hereby extends best wishes and
congratulations to all Christians worldwide especially the Armenian
fellow countrymen on the advent of the new year, 2005.

May God bless the humanity to live in peace and friendship in the new