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Report: Celebrations, Meetings in Armenia during the Armenian Evangelical Church 175th Anniversary

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

After two years of planning and a one-year delay, Armenian Evangelicals gathered in Yerevan to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the birth of the Armenian Evangelical church. The leaders of the five Armenian Evangelical Unions, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), and the Stephen Philibosian Foundation, together with church members and youth from about ten countries, came together to praise the Lord for His faithfulness. The theme of the celebration was “Let us hold fast … our faith” (Heb. 10.23).

About twenty youth from Canada and USA attended the All-Armenian Evangelical Youth Conference organized by the AMAA and taking place during the same time period. A total of 160 youth and leaders attended from the five Unions.

The major events were:

  • Ribbon cutting ceremony of the remodeled, nicely furnished first floor of the AMAA offices in Yerevan. The newly renovated AMAA’s Yerevan Headquarters was dedicated on June 30. Located on Baghramyan-18, it is one of the most beautiful and important buildings in the city. The US embassy operated there for years, and prior to that it was a scientific center during the Soviet years. Details are here:

  • The five Union representatives and AMAA CEO/Executive Director Mr. Zaven Khanjian were welcomed by the President of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Vahagn Khachaturyan for an official visit on June 30. We had the opportunity to share about our ministries and the President spoke at length about the current situation in Armenia and Artsakh and answered some questions. It was a meeting lasting about 80 minutes, with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

  • The July 1 celebratory event at the Yerevan Opera Hall included the recorded messages of the moderators of the Unions, Mr. Zaven Khanjian’s message and the letters of blessing from Garegin II, Catholicos of All Armenians (read by Abp. Nathan Hovhannisyan) and from the Armenian Patriarch Sahag Mashalian of Constantinople (excerpts read by A. Mardoyan). The program included three video presentations on the history of the AEC and its contributions over the 175 years and singing of Hymns and well-known Armenian songs by professional musicians. This was a very well planned and successful event. Read the details at: #evangelism #mission

  • July 2, a retreat was organized by the Union of France during which the representatives of the five Unions and AMAA Executive Director shared short reports about their current activities and situations. After these presentations, participants (about 100) were split into different group to discuss their current challenges and opportunities, solutions and visions for future. The conference closed with a brief meditation by Rev. Albert Paytyan on the sacrifice acceptable to God, followed by Holy Communion officiated by Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian, and concluding with a prayer of dedication by Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian. That evening, the 30th anniversary of Hope For Armenia of the French Union was celebrated during a unique dinner at the Congress Hotel of Yerevan. More photos from both events are here: #evangelism #mission

  • July 3, the group took a two-hour trip to the northern city of Stepanavan, for the ribbon cutting ceremony of AMAA’s newly constructed Social Center, followed by a joint worship service at the adjacent Armenian Evangelical Church of Stepanavan, lunch and fellowship. More photos from both events: #evangelism #mission

  • And July 7, the final event of the Armenian Evangelical Church's 175th anniversary celebrations in Armenia, was the Evangelical Church of Armenia's "Hayasa" theatrical group presenting the play "Hayrig" at the Theater of the Young Spectator. The actors, ranging from very young to adult, presented scenes from Rev. Aharon Shirajian's life in Aleppo during the Genocide years. During that period, Shirajian was known to many as "Hayrig" (Daddy), the savior of the Armenian orphans, the head of the "Aleppo House of Blessing", and the epitome of the mercy of Jesus Christ. The play also included video portions from Shirajian's actual living descendants (her daughter Aranoush and granddaughter Joy). Present in the audience was his grandson John Shirajian, who with his wife's assistance, shared personal memories and sentiments. AMAA’s Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, an Aleppo-Armenian, expressed his emotion-filled appreciation and challenged the many youth in the audience to continue serving in Shirajian's Christlike, dedicated manner, for the betterment of the Armenian nation.

During the week-long stay there were other receptions that created opportunities for us to meet with visiting and local pastors and church leaders. Many thanks to AMAA for their financial support and to their staff here in USA and in Armenia for taking care of all the details of this very successful undertaking.

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