Armenian Evangelical Movement:
History, Faith and Mission

Rev. Barkev N. Darakjian
2010, Published by the Armenian Missionary Association of America
Softcover, 249 pages

The faith and inspiration of Armenian Evangelicals who first led spiritual revivals in the Ottoman Empire and later led their communities through the chaos of massacres and genocide both shine in this new book, a collection of articles and essays by Glendale resident Rev. Barkev Darakjian.

Darakjian was born in Turkey but raised in Aleppo, Syria. A photo of his father, also an Armenian Evangelical pastor, with glasses and an open Bible, has served as a lifelong example – he died when Darakjian was still a baby. Because of the family’s financial straits, Darakjian quit school early and later opened a bookstore. His motto was to never sell a book without having read it first. Family and fellow church members, including this editor’s beloved grandmother, recognized his intellectual talents and ministerial gifts and urged him to return to school.

From mid-life, when he obtained a Near East School of Theology degree, to today in Glendale, California, Darakjian’s work has affirmed his calling. Armenian Evangelical Movement: History, Faith, and Mission contains knowledge gleaned from decades of personal research, work as a writer and editor for several Armenian Christian journals in the Near East and the United States, and years of Biblical study and preaching.

The book outlines Armenian Church history from ancient times, explaining how the Armenian Evangelical Church was forced to separate from the Armenian Apostolic Church in 1846. It also details the contributions of Evangelical Armenians to the intellectual life of their nation as well as the disproportionate losses they suffered during the genocide.

Darakjian names and honors outstanding leaders martyred by the Turks, but he also celebrates heroes who saved lives and helped form new communities among refugees. As Sunroom Desk indirectly noted awhile back, the resistance memorialized in The Forty Days of Musa Dagh was organized by Darakjian’s own father-in-law, Rev. Dikran Andreassian. Darakjian writes:

[He] received an order of deportation; however, through the mediation of the missionaries, he, together with his wife, were allowed to return to his hometown…Upon reaching their destination, [he] learned that the population of the five villages of Mussa Dagh would be deported within a few days. At a gathering of the community leaders, Andreassian recommended they consider the possibility of self-defense, rather than consenting to the order of deportation. Furthermore, he suggested moving the entire population to the nearby mountain top for defense and safety purposes, because the ocean, being at the foot of the mountain, would provide them with a way out, in case of extreme necessity. At the first meeting on the mountain top, Pastor Andreassian was unanimously elected as the Chief of the Defense Council. It was a precarious and very delicate position for a 27-year-old Minister of the word of God…However, his college education, short experience in Zeytoun, and God-given wisdom and courage provided to be great assets as he shouldered his duties.

Tributes to other heroes of the Armenian Evangelical Movement; chapters on the Confession of Faith, Women in the Early Church, Good Samaritans During and After the Armenian Genocide, John Calvin’s Doctrine of Election and Predestination and its limitations; and meditations on the role of Armenian Evangelicals in the diaspora and toward their nation complete the book.

Darakjian’s theme is revival and reconciliation. As a devoted student of his heritage, he calls on fellow evangelicals to fulfill their purpose in the opening chapter Identity Crisis:

In our quest for identity, we must face and accept the following realities: First, we are all God’s children created in His image. Second, through God’s providential act we have been counted as Armenian among the nations of the world. Third, God has been gracious to us by endowing us with the spirit of Christ by which we are called Christian. Four, God has given Armenians their Mother Church, which was originally founded on the teaching of the Apostles and the efforts of St. Gregory the Illuminator. Fifth, God has called the Armenian Evangelical Movement born within the bosom of the Mother Church and the Armenian nation to rekindle among them the Biblical message of salvation, and to revive in the Mother Church her early evangelistic spirit by which she had evangelized the historic Armenia and the neighboring lands. And finally, our calling and task today remain the same as those embraced by our founders: re-evangelizing our nation, and strengthening the evangelistic arm of the Mother Church both in Armenia and the Diaspora.

While only a slight percentage of Armenians worldwide, the Armenian Evangelical Church continues today with more than 30 congregations in the United States, including four affiliated churches in Glendale alone. Darakjian himself, now 85, often serves local congregations as a guest preacher, writes for Armenian journals, and continues reading and collecting books.

Available from
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA)
616 North Glendale Avenue, Suite 23
Glendale, CA 91206-2407
Phone: (818) 500-8839
Sale proceeds to benefit the AEUNA.

Also available from
Armenian Missionary Association of America
31 W. Century Road
Paramus NJ 07652
(201) 265-5607