Tuesday, June 19   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




“It is a very important period for Armenia, pray for the new authorities to rule with justice”

“The atmosphere in the country is changed, there is hope and trust over the future”, says Armenian Human Rights activist and evangelical Christian Hasmik Hovsepyan.

AUTHOR Joel Forster YEREVAN 08 JUNE 2018 12:00 h GMT+1
The peaceful revolution in Armenia has been an seen as an example of democracy. / Artyom Geodakyan, TASS

Christians in Armenia hope the recent changes in Armenia will help build a country with opportunities for all.

The dismantling of an old corrupt system is a big challenge, but the non-violent revolution sets the right environment for these changes to happen, believes Hasmik Hovsepyan, a Human Rights activist and advocate from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

She works for the Centre for Religion and Law, a Human Rights and research NGO, and is an expert in freedom of religion and belief issues.

“Most of the evangelical Christians I know joined the peaceful disobedience” in May, Hovsepyan told Evangelical Focus. This is “natural” because Christians have been active for years in praying for the country and building a strong “civil conscience”, she says.



Hasmik Hovsepyan.

Question. What was the situation in Armenia before 2018?

Answer. The reasons behind the nationwide protest movement and the “velvet revolution” were numerous: social injustice, corrupt and clan government system, poverty, inequality before law, large-scale migration, oligarchic economy whereby the rich people having connections with government officials were getting richer, the rest – getting poorer, etc. The political party governing the country for around 20 years had completely lost people’s trust. They have presented themselves as authorities that don’t care about people and country.

If we were to give an evangelical description to the previous government, we could say that they neither feared God, nor regarded men. People felt oppressed, downtrodden and disrespected by their own government. People had lost hope and optimism towards the future; they realized that it could not go on like this anymore, although it seemed that they had put up with the situation.

The situation reached a tipping point when the acting president openly broke his promise. Having ruled the country two terms and having promised to never claim the highest position of the country again, Serzh Sarkisian, nonetheless, got nominated and was later elected Prime minister by the Parliament. It became clear that the Constitution change of 2015, by which Armenia switched from presidential to parliamentary government system, chased one main purpose – for the acting president to have a chance of ruling the country, this time, as the Prime minister.

Before the Prime minister elections, opposition politician, member of the parliament Nikol Pashinyan initiated a protest march from the second city of the republic to the capital Yerevan, where the protests gradually turned into a peaceful nationwide movement and ended in a “velvet revolution” and peaceful transfer of power. 


Q. Nikol Pashinyan is the new Prime Minsiter. How do people perceive him?

Nikol Pashinyan used to be a well-known journalist, editor-in-chief of a newspaper. He then became an opposition politician and was elected member of the parliament. Throughout his entire career, he acted as a politician with principal views and beliefs. He always criticized the acting government although nobody could ever imagine that, at some point, he would become leader of a nationwide movement. There was a widely believed hypothesis in Armenia that no real opposition existed and that all opposition parties in the Parliament were the “projects” of the authorities and acted exceptionally within their limitations in order to secure the discharge of public dissatisfaction and the reputation of a democratic state. However, during his protest march, people gradually began to trust and love him. We can say that Nikol Pashinyan was some kind of a revelation to people. Today he is legally appointed and fully legitimate Prime Minister who has the trust and respect of the vast majority of the nation.

We should also mention that, in one of his earlier interviews, he noted that the Gospels are the most outstanding writings in the history of mankind, and that the character of Jesus Christ struck him when he first read the New Testament as a schoolboy. According to him, when you read about Jesus Christ, you understand that He could not have been like that if He were not God. He identifies himself as a Christian who reads the Bible periodically.  



Q. What are the challenges Armenia needs to face in the next few years?


Nikol Pashinyan led the peaceufl protests and is now the new Prime Minister. / Yerevantsi (Wikimedia Commons)

A. The initial steps must be directed towards eradicating corruption and the clan system, establishing rule of law, providing a favorable and secure environment for investments. These steps will in turn have a multiplying effect: new jobs will be created, poverty will be reduced, and migration will be replaced with the opposite process – immigration.

The most essential prerequisite is present: the atmosphere in the country is changed, there is hope and trust over the future, the international prestige of Armenia has gone up sharply. Armenia has tremendous resources, including human resources, to become greater.


Q. How do the diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia look like?               

A. Armenia has strategic allied and friendly relations with Russia. Russia is an important partner of Armenia in security, military-technical and trade-economic spheres, and the new authorities do not make any drastic changes in this regard. At the same time it is expected that the high legitimacy of the current Prime Minister will allow the Armenian side to act from more dignified positions.

As for neighboring Turkey, it is unrealistic to expect positive changes in relations. Diplomatic relations have not been established between the two countries so far, the state border is closed, and there is a noteworthy circumstance of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Despite all these, the former and the current governments have signaled to Turkey many times that Armenia is ready to establish bilateral relations without any preconditions, while Turkish authorities always speak about preconditions, which aborts all kinds of processes.


Q. How many Christians are there in Armenia?

A. Historically Armenia is a predominantly a Christian and mono-ethnic country. Unofficially, the population does not surpass 2.5 Million people. Most of the population are considered to be the followers of Armenian Apostolic Church and most of them are nominal Christians. The followers of Evangelical- Pentecostal denominations are about 100,000.

Now there are 67 registered religious organizations, 45 of them are Evangelical- Pentecostal churches. It must be stated that there are also dozens of communities that are not registered, which practice religion and belief.


Many young people took the streets to demand a radical change in Armenia. / Wikimedia Commons, CC

Q. Have evangelical Christians participated in the protest movement? How do Christians you know see the future of the country?

A. It should be noted that the civil disobedience and resistance movement was of a peaceful nature, it was declared as a struggle of open hands where even the biblical principles were heard: if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. There was no aggression, there were no calls for violent overthrow of the power. It was actually in the atmosphere of love and solidarity, and most of the evangelical Christians I know joined the peaceful disobedience and it's natural because Evangelical Christians have high civil consciousness and are active in their civil position. Of course, the atmosphere of love and solidarity contributed greatly to their participation.

My Christian friends look at the future of Armenia to be bright, full of hope and blessed. For dozens of years, Christians prayed day and night for Armenia, and it can be said that these developments were very similar to the things happening in the Old Testament Exodus when the people cried out to God, and God freed them from slavery. Now it is no less important and responsible stage. If we want to build the Promised Land of our dreams, we must also be ready to go on the path of personal internal reform and honest work.


Q. Is there real religious freedom in the country for evangelical Christians?

A. We cannot say that freedom of conscience and belief is not respected in Armenia, but there are problems that require urgent settlement. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is guaranteed by the Constitution, but there are significant drawbacks in the field of current legislation. In the last 10 years there have been made four unsuccessful attempts to amend the law on religious organizations and the main problem is that the basis of these bills was the concept of limitations instead of the proper regulation.

In addition to the legislative issues, it is also alarming that religious discrimination, including towards the Evangelical-Pentecostal Christians, is still widely spread. Religious discrimination is noticeable in the field of education, public administration, law enforcement agencies, and employment. We hope that the new government will be more principled in this area, and in Armenia everyone will be able to fully enjoy freedom of conscience and religion without being a subject of religious discrimination.


Q. How can other Christians in the world pray for Armenia?

A. This period is very important for Armenia. It is not an easy thing to start building the things that are destroyed or built in the wrong way. Now the Armenian people are to build the walls like Nehemiah did in Jerusalem. Christians in Armenia pray so that nothing could hinder the process and for the new authorities to rule with justice, law and with fear of God. So I would like to ask Christians all over the world to pray with the verse from Proverbs 8.15: “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.”




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - “It is a very important period for Armenia, pray for the new authorities to rule with justice”
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.


Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

How can churches better support singles? How can churches better support singles?

Tina Tschage, on some areas in which other Christians can encourage singles.

The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines

The Kirk has begun official procedures to investigate the status and the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith within its denomination.

Why is it so difficult to get today’s young adults interested in the Bible? Why is it so difficult to get today’s young adults interested in the Bible?

The simple fact that people struggle to read books is the first factor, but there are some other hurdles, says Simon Lennox of Bible Study Fellowship.

Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.