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Persecution – Eastern Ukraine bans church meetings

December 2018

An evangelical church group in eastern Ukraine has been outlawed by authorities, and Christians face a fine or arrest if they meet together, even in their own homes.

Now called the Luhansk People’s Republic and controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, the area’s officials imposed a re-registration process for churches in February 2018.

But Ukraine’s Institute for Religious Freedom said evangelical Christian communities have been barred from re-registration, meaning they are breaking the law if they do not cease to operate.

Barnabas Fund reports congregations emptying church buildings of books and furniture, and church leaders have asked for prayer ‘that God gives wisdom and strength in this situation’.

In July officials banned the activity of one group of evangelical churches, which were described as an ‘extremist religious organisation’. In August, a pastor and other leaders were arrested and detained in a raid on a church service in Alchevsk. Evangelical churches have been repeatedly targeted by separatist elements.

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