History: 1000 B.C. - Zoroaster becomes one of the first teachers to consider such things as monotheism, man's free will, resurrection, final judgment, heaven (the word "paradise" comes from Old Persian) and hell. Zoroaster also taught about an almighty, kind, loving and forgiving God. He believed man's salvation in life and in the afterlife could only be ensured through Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. Many of these concepts had a significant influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
549 B.C. - Cyrus the Great defeats Astayages, last king of the Medes in Hamedan (Ecbatana). Cyrus soon afterwards allows Jewish exiles to rebuild temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1). The Jews regard Cyrus as 'the Lord's anointed'.
9th Century - City of Qom is founded and quickly becomes an important city in Muslim world.
1387 - Tamerlane invades Esfahan. Before subduing the city, the Mongol emperor and his men kill more than 70,000 of Esfahan’s citizens.
1979 - Military forces loyal to Shah of Iran surrender to revolutionary militia ending Shah’s dynasty. Ayatollah Khomeni returns to Qom from exile and makes it the seat of power.
Languages: Farsi is the predominant language spoken in the PCEN. There are, however, several ethnic minorities residing in the region who speak their respective “heart languages” such as Armenian, Romany, and Arabic.
Population: There are over seven million people living in the PCEN. Some of these seven million people include Jews, Gypsies and Armenians.
Lifestyle: Esfahan is one of Iran’s top tourist destinations with its markets, history and beautiful landmarks. The tourist trade drives much of the city’s economy. Other Esfahan citizens are either employed in administrative or industrial work. In other parts of the PCEN most agriculture constitutes the people’s main business where the land is conducive to growing things.
Spiritual Identity: The majority of people living in the PCEN are Shia Muslims. There are those among the ethnic minorities who do not claim Islam as part of their religious identity. The Armenians profess a traditional or apostolic Christianity and the Jews cling to their Judaic heritage.
Status of Christianity: The central provinces of Iran are home to dozens of historical churches. The fact that these churches are merely museums is testament to the lack of Christian influence in central Iran. The Christian fire has not completely gone out…
Recently, a believer in one of the central provinces was in a store and he noticed a cashier reading a book. Upon closer inspection, the believer noticed that the cashier was actually reading a Bible. Buoyed by finding another believer, the two men agreed to meet to study the Bible.