History

 

The Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut, started in the Armenian camps in 1922. These camps were called each by the original name of the homeland. For example camp Hajen, camp Aintab, camp Adana, camp Amanos, camp Marash and other camps.

The Armenian Evangelicals were distributed in 13 different camps and nearby streets. In 1926 the Armenian Evangelical joint work was separated, and thus the Armenian Evangelical Church of Ashrafieh was formed. The Rev. Yenovk Hadidian became the founding pastor of the church and continued to serve the newly formed church until 1962. According to the statistics of 1926, the church had 1500 members (680 males and 820 females). The first deacons of the church were Mr. Partam Shanlian and Mr. Soghomon Balekian. The first Board of managers consisted of the following names: Mr. Haigazoun Roubian, Mr. Haroutioun Keleshian, Mr. Setrak Havoundjian and Mr. Sarkis Metrebian. The first Board of Trustees consisted of the following names: Mr. Haroutioun Khoshafian, Mr. Hampartsoum Momjian, Mr. Krikor Euredjian, Mr. Hovhannes Sanjejian and Mr. Arakel Zanazanian.

The worship services were held in a very poor setting. Under these poor conditions the church took form and developed during the following years and became a strong church.

For the first six years the church was called the Camp Armenian Evangelical Church and after the spring of 1932, it started to be known as the Armenian Evangelical Church of Ashrafieh.

The church building was erected in 1932 by the generous donation of Rev. Henry Riggs in memory of his wife and daughter, who passed away while serving among the Armenians of Kharpoot, Turkey.

In 1936 a new piece of land was bought adjacent to the church and the parsonage was built on it. The church bell was donated through the representative’s of the Swiss Friends of Armenia Mr. Karl Mayer and Mr. Yakob Kunzler.

The church had a large educational ministry in the Union of the Armenian Evangelical churches in the Near East. The first Armenian school in the camps started in 1922, in camp Adana. From 1922-1926, Rev. Yenovk Hadidian established 10 Armenian Evangelical schools. Besides these schools the church had its Sunday School. In 1928 the number of students in the churches’ Sunday school was 700 children.

The church had its Christian Endeavor Youth Association, which was founded by Dr. Puzant Hadidian and Miss Puzantouhi Yardemian. At its starting year, that is 1926, it had 134 members (45 boys and 89 girls). The church had its Junior Youth group, which had 65 members. Both of these organizations put their emphasis on the formation of the Christian character of the teenagers and preparing them both mentally and spiritually to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ and members of the church.

Seven women who were elected by the church’s communicant members started the women’s auxiliary in 1938. Some of the women were: Mrs. Satenig Kerkyasharian, Mrs. Maktaghine Manougian, Mrs. Mary Jafarian, Mrs. Helen Hadidian and others. This Women’s Union helps the church and the school financially and provids spiritual and moral guidance to the women of the church.

In 1942 the church stopped receiving financial aid from the Union of the Armenian Evangelical churches in the Near East and other sources, and became self-sufficient.

The church and its pastor, faithful to their spiritual calling, have always stressed the necessity of repentance and being born again Christians, prayer life and service and spreading the word of God.

There have been several spiritual awakenings in the church on different occasions, which brought spiritual renewal and new enthusiasm to the life of the church and increased its membership.

The church had several faithful deacons as Mr. Partam Shanlian, Mr. Soghomon Balekian, Mr. Setrag Havounjian, Mr. Hovhannes Dardaghanian and Mr. Samuel Festekjian.

Some of the churches prominent committee members were Mr. Haroutioun Keleshian, Mr. Krikor Euredjian, Mr. Armenag Zadigian, Mr. Movses Andonian, Mr. Haig Artinian, Mr. Vahan Melikian, Mr. Krikor Boghosian, Mr. Samuel Kerkasharian, Mr. Avedis Dzarougian, Dr. Voskeperan Merjanian, Dr. Henry Bedeer, Dr. Tashjian, Mr. Okosteen Bedeer, Mr. Zaven Hadidian, Mr. Toros Touzdjian and others.