Evangelical Church of Armenia in Gyumri
Gyumri, an urban municipal community, is the second largest city in Armenia and serves as the administrative center of Shirak Province in the northwestern part of the country. It was founded and developed as a city in the 18th century and, until the establishment of the Soviet order, the city was called Alexandrapol. Alexandrapol had all the features of a modern city, with a unique urban culture, active intelligentsia, economically and culturally advanced, and located at the crossroads of trade routes. Alexandrapol also had strategic significance in a political sense as one of the most important cities in Transcaucasia, under the Russian Empire. This was also a remarkable area for Armenian Evangelicals. From the national archives of the Republic of Armenia it is clear that at the end of the 1840s there were small Armenian Evangelical communities. This means that the Armenian Evangelicalism in Eastern Armenia began spreading in unison with Western Armenia making this area one of the most important centers for Armenian Evangelicals in Eastern Armenia.
During the Soviet era, Alexandrapol was renamed Leninakan. The city’s population grew to over 200,000 prior to the devastating 1988 Earthquake, when several cities and villages were ruined. At the time of the Soviet Union break up, between 1990 and 1992, the city was renamed to its historical name Kumayri from the Urartu period, and later it was given the name Gyumri.
Soon after the 1988 Earthquake, the Armenian Missionary Association of America began serving the Homeland with a variety of services and in 1991 established its first office in Gyumri and further organized its activities in the city.
In September 1999, a Sunday School was established under the guidance of Grigor Vardanyan’s initiative and in November 2000 Rev. Hamlet Kyureghyan, Pastor of the Evangelical Church of Armenia in Yerevan, started visiting Gyumri for Sunday Worship Services and officially established the Church. Initially, only parents of children attending Sunday School attended the Worship Services. Over time, the Church organized and expanded its services and activities. For several years, four brothers led the Gyumri Church and preached: Armen Tadevosyan, Gagik Danielyan, Karen Manukyan, and Grigor Vardanyan who attended and graduated from the Armenian Evangelical Theological Academy. In 2012, Rev. Kyureghyan started to lead the Church as its Pastor. For six years, under his leadership, the Church went through a new phase of self-organization and formation. The spiritual level of the Community increased and established an Armenian Evangelical self-consciousness. At present, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gyumri has 77 baptized members and every Sunday the average attendance at Sunday Worship Services is 85-100 people.