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Belarus Threatens To Close Down Evangelical Church

Thursday, July 16, 2009 (5:39 am)
Posted in: Christian, Christian Persecution - Europe

By Worthy News Staff in Budapest

MINSK/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) — An evangelical church in the Belarus' capital Minsk faced uncertainty Thursday, July 16, as authorities threatened to close it because a foreign pastor preached at a worship service.

Pastor Boris Grisenko, a Ukrainian, was also fined fined 105,000 Belarusian Roubles ($37) after preaching at the New Testament Pentecostal Church, said religious rights group Forum 18.

Authorities defended the move, with the  head of the city's Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs, Alla Ryabitseva, reportedly saying:  "I have been to the United States. Visitors to the country can't just go and speak at a religious service without permission."

Police declined to say how they found out about the worship service, but Christians have complained of alleged surveillance by the secret KGB service.

Foreigners engaged in religious activity have long been a target of state hostility, along with their Belarusian Christians and other groups, several rights groups and local Christians said.

CATHOLICS EXPELLED

In addition “Catholic priests and nuns have regularly been expelled” Forum 18 said. Authorities were to publish a Concordat, but it remained unknown whether the document would address violations of freedom of religion or belief.

In published remarks, Bishop Sergei Tsvor, deputy head of the Pentecostal Union to which the Minsk congregation belongs, condemned the authorities' reported crackdown."I don't need permission from the authorities to speak at a service or a conference in Russia, Ukraine, Poland or Germany – I've done so many times.”

He said Belarus has “a law that bans foreigners from such participation. I regret that the law exists – it is a violation of our rights."

The European Union has been pressuring Belarus to improve religious and political rights. The EU recently lifted sanctions on Belarus after the administration of autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko released some political prisoners and made other liberal reforms. Lukashenko has publicly sought investment from the EU. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos in Budapest).

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  • FresnoJoe

    {{{… alleged surveillance by the secret KGB service …}}}

    Dear Protectors Of Belarus And Especially The Never Sleeping Ever Hard Working KGB
    The Light's On And The Door's Open

    "Then Jesus traveled and taught in one city and village after another on his way to Jerusalem."
    "Someone asked him, "Sir, are only a few people going to be saved?" He answered,"
    " "Try hard to enter through the narrow door. I can guarantee that many will try to enter, but they won't succeed."

    "After the homeowner gets up and closes the door, it's too late. You can stand outside, knock at the door, and say, 'Sir, open the door for us!' But he will answer you, 'I don't know who you are.' "
    "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' "

    "But he will tell you, 'I don't know who you are. Get away from me, all you evil people.' "
    "Then you will cry and be in extreme pain. That's what you'll do when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets. They'll be in the kingdom of God, but you'll be thrown out."

    "People will come from all over the world and will eat in the kingdom of God."
    "Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last." "
    Luke 22:23-30 (God's Word Translation)

    Believe

    "If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved."
    "By believing you receive God's approval, and by declaring your faith you are saved."
    Romans 10:9-10

    And Be Blessed Beloved
    Love, Joe

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