It is a peaceful afternoon in the Blue Mosque of Yerevan. The silence of the park is periodically interrupted by the sharp sounds of coughing and sneezing and soft conversations of the visitors. The entrances to the hall are separate for men and women, there is a partition that does not reach the ceiling in the hall․ Mullah Mahmoud Movahedifar is in the men's section, women, including the wife of the religious leader, follow the prayer through loudspeakers and a screen hanging on the wall.
There are sixteen pairs of shoes in the left entrance hall, three (including mine) in the right. Mr. Movahedifar says that it is due to the pandemic, women are advised to stay at home in this period, to take care of the family, otherwise the gender ratio of the visitors is almost equal. Mullah Mahmoud Movahedifar, who has been serving in Armenia for about two years, offers prayers and commentaries in Persian and English ․ The only functioning Muslim prayer house in Yerevan is open not only for Iranians and Shiite Muslims but also for all nations, tourists and just curious people. Mr. Movahedifar notices that they have even Russian visitors. Prayer of the day is about challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Mullah believes that infection is an examination from God, an opportunity to stop, to reflect, to change, and correct our mistakes. According to the spiritual leader, in this way God does not punish but shows his love for humanity, gives an opportunity to be improved.
The spiritual ritual ends with a feast of tea and desserts.