Archive for the ‘Armenia’ category

Evangelical Armenians in Georgia

March 29, 2011

Evangelical Armenians, resident in Georgia, have been actively involved in mission among other Armenians since the mid 1800s. Whilst protestant mission in Armenia was largely conducted without the presence of western missionaries, mission among Armenian residents in Georgia was carried out by European missionaries from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Early Swedish missionaries established a base in  Pyatigorsk and German Lutherans were effective in spreading protestantism in Tblisi and elsewhere in the Caucasus.

Independent evangelical churches were encouraged to form alliances under the wings of the American and British and Foreign Bible Societies and from 1870 onwards the American Mission Boards began offering support to evangelical Armenian communities in the transcaucasus region. Following initial growth and consoidation, the latter half of the 1880s saw opposition grow to the fledgling movement and leaders, including Vasili Pavlov, Nikita Voronin and Abraham Amirkhanyan, were arrested. Undeterred, Amirkhanyan and others, after release, continued to lead the protestant communities up until the 1920s.

Armenian Baptists and Armenian Lutherans were officially recognised by the Russian Government between 1914-1918. In 1926 the Armenian Evangelical Church was also recognised. Many of these communities combined to engage in missionary work among Armenians in Eastern Armenia, and established orphanages during the 1910s.

The Armenian Evangelicals work independently but they are included in the Evangelical union of Christian Baptists of Georgia, which has more than 5,000 members and is itself a member Union of the European Baptist Federation.

Today on the territory of Georgia there are six Armenian Evangelical organizations, five Armenian Evangelical churches (Tbilisi, Kumurdo, Sulda, Akhalkalaki, and Sukhumi), and one Armenian Evangelical brotherhood (established in Akhaltsikhe in 1993). There are about 60 Armenian Evangelicals living in Abkhazia. Since opening its office in Armenia in 1991, the Armenian Evangelical Association of America (AEAA) has been rendering assistance to the Armenian Evangelicals in Tbilisi and Sukhumi, particularly in the educational, cultural, social and organizational spheres.

For further information you can follow our link to the NORAVANK website to view the original article from which this summary is extracted.

 

Protestant Armenians

March 16, 2010

A Norovank Foundation article, dated 16th March, offers an Armenian view of Protestants within Armenia and among the global Diaspora.

The first Protestant community of Armenians is recorded in Istanbul in 1846. By 1914 there were an estimated 60,000. After the post-Soviet political changes the Armenian Evangelical Church was re-registered in 1994 and has continued to expand gradually. Expansion has given them a higher national profile and Armenian Evangelicals have worked hard to establish that their Christian tradition can be understood as culturally Armenian.

Evangelical protestants in Armenia generally see their roots in one of two alternative sources. Some trace their origins to two medieval Armenian sectarian movements, the Pavlikians and the Tondrakians, whereas a second group look back to seventeenth reform movements within the (Orthodox) Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC). The point of connection between the two emphases is that the Reform movements within the AAC also drew inspiration from the sectarian Pavlikians and the Tondrakians.

Armenian evangelicals are widely seen to be making valuable educational and cultural contributions to Armenian society (including their invaluable role in translating the Bible into contemporary Armenian) as well as playing an important role in the preservation of national identity. Their missionary activity among Armenian Muslims during the Ottoman period in Turkey was welcomed by the AAC during that period.

Despite this positive reporting of the Armenian Evangelical Church, Baptists and others keep a close watch on the Religious Laws of Armenia through which there exists the tendency for nudging it little by little towards a closer relationship of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian State.

The original article can be viewed at http://www.noravank.am/en/?page=analitics&nid=2392