Proselytization is not a legal term and there’s no law in Armenia that can make proselytizing a punishable offense, said Reverend Father Yesayi Artenyan speaking to reporters in Yerevan today.
“Considering that the area of our church in the South-East district is more saturated with sectarians and sectarian organizations’ centers — by the way, one more aggressive and dangerous the other —, I don’t consider it coincidental that the different religious organizations harbored on all four sides of the church took this step measuredly, choosing the areas closest to the church,” he said.
As for the Court of General Jurisdiction of Malatia-Sebastia Administrative District of Yerevan ruling to sentence Jehovah’s Witness Andranik Makvetsyan to 6 months in prison for insulting a member of the clergy and for violating the lawful activities of the priest in the vicinity of the church, well, according to the priest, this will become a “wonderful example” for all those whose rights are constantly violated by different denominational organizations.
Recall, on May 15, local media reported that Father Yesayi Artenyan of the Holy Trinity Church in the Yerevan neighborhood of Malatia-Sebastia prohibited two Jehovah’s Witnesses, Andranik Makvetsyan and Samvel Grigoryan, from preaching on church property, after which he received threats from them.
Attorney Varduhi Elbakyan, however, considered the punishment against Makvetsyan to be insufficient.
“For what he did, six months is not enough; this example has to have an impact on the others, to make them understand that you have to have respect for the law and all those against whom violence has been done,” she said.