Haik Hovsepian Mehr

Haik Hovsepian Mehr

Haik Hovsepian Mehr (January 6, 1945, Tehran, killed January, 1994), was an Iranian bishop and Christian martyr. He was the Bishop of the "Jama'at-e Rabbani" church (part of the Assemblies of God church movement) until his death.

While Armenian by ethnicity, Hovsepian Mehr had a strong motivation to evangelise Iranian Muslims. He was an outspoken Christian apologist and evangelist and a gifted musician. Many of his sermons and songs are still available on the Internet.

He was responsible for initiating increased collaboration between evangelical churches within Iran after the Iranian Revolution. He was the Chairman of the Council of Protestant Ministers of Iran.

Hovsepian Mehr spoke up for the rights of Christians in Iran. In 1993 he was one of only two church leaders to refuse to sign a declaration stating that they would not allow Muslims or Muslim converts into their churches. He also refused to sign a statement that Christians enjoyed full rights in Iran. He compiled a detailed report on violations of religious freedom and invited Professor Reynaldo Pohl, the United Nations Special Representative to Iran, to visit the country and meet Protestant ministers and government officials to discuss these violations. He also met the Ministry for Islamic Guidance for Minorities to call for the government to respect the rights of religious minorities set out in the 1979 Constitution.

He was killed after protesting about the treatment of his friend and colleague Mehdi Dibaj at the hands of the Iranian government. While the government initially denied all involvement in his death and even charged two members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq with his murder, Iranian Christians and independent observers claimed that he was murdered for his beliefs and outspokenness by Iranian security personnel. This view was confirmed in 2001, when the murder was confirmed to be a part of the series of political murders of authors and activists ordered by Saeed Emami, then Vice Minister at the Ministry of Intelligence, exposure of which shook the Iranian political establishment.

Hovsepian Mehr was succeeded by his brother Edvard Hovsepian Mehr in his role as Bishop of the Jama'at-e Rabbani Church.

ee also

* Politics of Iran
* Christians in Iran

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