Reverend Haroutioun Selimian elected president of the Armenian Evangelical World Council

Reverend Haroutioun Selimian, who has been president of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria since 2004 is the first Syrian Armenian to receive this position, that he will hold until 2010.

The elections were held at the headquarters of the Armenian Missionary Association of America in New Jersey, USA, in October 2008, in the presence of the five Unions of Armenian evangelical churches, (Near East, France, Armenia Euro-Asia, North America).

On 24 November 2008 Aleppo's Al-Jamahir daily's reporter Bianka Madia had an interview with Reverend Haroutioun Selimian. Below are parts of the interview translated by Nanor Mikayelian.

What new responsibilities lie ahead of you after this new position as president of the Armenian Evangelical World Council (AEWC)?
The main responsibility is to coordinate among the five Armenian Evangelical church unions in the world. The Council holds a meeting once a year in USA and has ecclesial, ecumenical and cultural activities and cooperates with charitable organizations worldwide.

Are these cultural activities merely related to theology and philosophy or they are cultural in a wider sense?
The Council is interested in any issue related to educating and civilizing the individual so that he would be an efficient member of his society.

What about the Christian - Muslim dialogue?
I think there has always been an inter-faith dialogue between Christians and Muslims in the region, and we have always co-existed in harmony, something that surprises all visitors to Syria, which must serve as an example of tolerance and for all the world.

What was the first feeling or thought that occurred to you the minute you were appointed president?
Well, it was definitely the feeling of enormous responsibility. I look at it as a position through which I can serve others, rather than a position of privilege. May God bless this duty and vocation and give me the wisdom and sagacity to serve every church and every single member around me.

Brief biography of Reverend Haroutioun Selimian:
Born in 1963 Aleppo, Syria
First degree in Theology and Psychology, Lebanon (1988)
Masters degree in Divinity from Chicago (1992)
Certificate in Ecumenical Leadership, the Ecumenical Institute, Switzerland (2000)
Masters degree in Theology - Lebanon / McCormick Theological Seminary, USA (2001)

In addition to his post as president of the Armenian Evangelical community in Syria, he has also been the pastor of Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church in Aleppo since 1992.

Group photo from the election day:

Front row left to right: Rev. Joseph Matossian, Rev. Avedis Boynerian, Rev. Haroutioun Selimian, Rev. Dr. Vahan H.Tootikian, Mr.Andrew Torigian, Rev. Megerdich Karagoezian, Mrs. Joyce Philibosian-Stein.

Back row left to right: Rev. Dikran Youmoushakian, Rev. Rene Leonian, Rev. Gilbert Leonian, Dr. Steve Aharonian, Rev. Joel Mikaelian, Rev. Hagop Choukhajian.