APPEAL TO PRESIDENT OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION V.V. PUTIN
Website of Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, 9 April 2020
V.V. Putin, Coronavirus Appeal
Esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich!
In the name of the centralized religious organization "Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists" (hereafter RSEKhB) I express my concern about the fact that against the backdrop of social tension, public statements of several officials and journalists are leading to tension within the nation, inciting inter-religious strife, and, as a consequence, to attempts to commit terrorist acts.
In an interview on April 2, 2020, given to news media by the governor of Briansk oblast, A.V. Bogomaz, false accusations were expressed against Baptists of the city of Briansk that they spread coronavirus infection. These statements contain information that does not accord with reality and discredits the reputation of our church.
In the night of 7-8 April, an attempt was made to set fire to the EKhB church in the city of St. Petersburg located at No. 27 Bolshaia Ozernaia St.
I consider that a mention in news media of the nationality or the religious affiliation of those who have had a positive result in the test for the coronavirus is dangerous and inadmissible. As a doctor, I know that there is medical confidence; as a clergyman I maintain the confidence of the confession, and I continually work on creating peace in our society that is filled with misunderstandings, grief, disagreements, and conflicts.
Evangelical Christians-Baptists have always advocated harmonization and good relations among various nationalities and confessions.
The RSEKhB is extremely concerned about the developing situation. We consider that in conditions of the existing difficult social circumstance the spreading of inaccurate information arouses hatred and religious intolerance in society.
We ask you to cooperate in the protection of evangelical believers in Russia and in preventing incorrect statements in the mass news media.
May the Lord preserve you!
With prayer for the prosperity and spiritual awakening of Russia
Pastor Petr Mitskevich,
President of the Union
(tr. by PDS, posted 9 April 2020)
BAPTISTS AND BATHHOUSE ARE TO BLAME: SHARP OUTBREAK OF CORONAVIRUS RECORDED IN BRIANSK
Obshchestvennaia Sluzhba Novostei, 6 April 2020
A sharp growth in the number of coronavirus infections has been recorded in Briansk. In the course of a few days, SOVID-19 was diagnosed in 60 persons.
According to information of the telegram channel Vaza, the "coronation" of the city occurred because of a tourist who returned from Spain in mid-March and infected a relative. He, in turn, turned out to be friendly with the pastor of the local Baptist church.
It was noted that two citizens flew in from a European state on 13 March. From the trip they brought not only magnets but also the coronavirus.
The travelers infected the whole family, a member of which had a long tradition of visiting the bathhouse with friends. One day the man invited his friend, the pastor of the Baptist church, to "take a bath." It was there, presumably, the infection was passed to the spiritual leader of the "Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith."
Following the clergyman, about fifty of his parishioners were infected, for whom he prayed several days later. Before the hospitalization the pastor managed to travel to Smolensk, where he also addressed parishioners.
As a result, as of today 63 residents of Briansk oblast are in the hospital with confirmed SOVID-19. Several of the infected persons have recovered and others are continuing in treatment and three persons are in intensive care.
At the same time, several dozen more citizens are awaiting results of testing directly in medical institutions, where all of those infected are located. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 April 2020)
DECLARATION OF SENIOR PRESBYTER OF RSEKhB IN BRIANSK OBLAST, E.I. VORONIN
Website of Russian Union of Evangelical-Christians Baptists, 8 April 2020
E.I. Voronin, Coronavirus Refutation of News Media
In recent days, unreliable information has been circulated in news media, including central television channels, to the effect that Baptists in Briansk supposedly have been spreaders of coronavirus infection.
With regard to this information, as things stand as of 8 April 2020, in Briansk oblast not a single member of the church of Evangelical Christians-Baptists has a confirmed diagnosis of SOVID-19.
Senior presbyter of RSEKhB for Briansk oblast
(tr. by PDS, posted 9 April 2020)
AMATEUR ARSONIST AND SEGMENT ON CHANNEL ONE
Petersburg Baptists questioning who tried to set fire to their church and why
Fontanka, 8 April 2020
The Association of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast published a video of an attempt to set fire to the church on Bolshaia Ozernaia in St. Petersburg. At the same time, they sent to authorities of the northern capital an appeal requesting an investigation of the situation that led to the attempt.
The appeal, which the editorial office of Fontanka received on 8 April, says that after a session of the operational staff for combating the spread of coronavirus, which was held on 17 March, all services in the central church of Evangelical Christians-Baptists have been broadcast online since 22 March.
The report says that on 7 April, on the First Channel, a segment was released in which, in the opinion of representatives of the church, the spread of SOVID in the region is connected with the flock of the Briansk Baptist church.
And in the night of 7 to 8 April, an attempt to set fire to the church in Petersburg was carried out.
In the video recording it is seen that around 5 in the morning a man approached the fence of the church. He takes something out of a backpack. Then he begins to set fire to it and a flash occurs. The man rushes around and tries to throw a burning cylinder through a window of the church. After this he runs off.
As a result of the action a window of the building was broken. But the burning cylinder did not penetrate the building.
St. Petersburg police are conducting an inquiry into the arson attempt and are searching for the arsonist. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 April 2020)
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