Source: BBC Monitoring Central Asia
Publication date: 2002-08-27
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Text of report by Armenian news agency Noyan Tapan
Yerevan, 26 August: Fifty-one religious organizations are registered in Armenia representing 14 eastern and western trends, according to information in 2002. After the government’s decision in 1997 on re-registration, the Krishna religious movement was not re- registered. The new registration rules increased the minimum number of members of a registered community from 50 to 200.
The director of the centre for Christian education, Fr Gevond Mailyan, told a Noyan Tapan correspondent that at present small but quite active house churches of the Chinese (?Li-Ni) movement are operating in Armenia. Under the name of the Waldorf school movement, the mystical occult sect, Steinerism, has started to operate in our country. Of the Islamic sects, Bahaism, which appeared in the middle of the 19th century in Iran, is registered.
The priest said that of the longer established churches, the Catholics have the biggest community in Armenia, with about 18,000 followers; the Protestant churches include Baptists and Adventists and since 1988 Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics have appeared in Armenia.
At present the Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the most widespread sects in Armenia and consist of 12,000 people, according to the priest. This sect has not yet been registered in Armenia, as its statutes contradict the Armenian Constitution.