Armenia enjoys the singular distinction of being oft-cited as the world’s first Christian nation because in 301 AD, it was the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion.1 Today, 94% of the population is Christian, making Armenia a light on a hill to the three predominantly Muslim countries it is bordered by --Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran.
Much of the Church in Armenia is traditional in nature, and this overshadows a personal relationship with Jesus. Bible reading is very rare in Armenia.2 New church plants, launched with the 12 Biblical Principles offered in DCPI training, will serve as remedies to both of these shortcomings.
Armenia is a very old civilization; sources place its beginning anywhere between 800 B.C. and 600 B.C. And since that time, they have had a political run for their money, having been conquered and ruled by Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Ottoman Turks, Greeks, Romans, and Russians throughout the years. One of the most egregious episodes of their history occurred in 1915 at the hands of the Turks, who deported the Armenians to Syrian and Mesopotamian desert lands; the death toll, attributed to murder and starvation, is estimated between 600,000 and 1.5 million.3
Today over half of all Armenians live outside of Armenia. This diaspora is traced by some as far back as the eleventh century and attributed to the assaults perpetrated by hostile invaders.4 Estimates of the number of Armenians living outside their homeland range from three to eight million. Remarkably, and perhaps partly because of Armenia’s spiritual legacy of 1,700 years of Christianity, the Armenians who are spread abroad in places such as the Middle East, North America, Russia, Poland, Western Europe, India, and elsewhere, are remaining faithful to their dependence on Jesus, and many of them minister to those who live in their home land.
Armenian church leaders are on the move with the Holy Spirit; one group of Armenian church planters has reached their goal of planting churches in all 11 regions of their country; they are now planning to take this church planting movement to many villages throughout the land. DCPI is privileged to reinforce this resilient section of the Body of Christ with church planter training.
2 Operation World, 7th Edition, p.115