Religion News Current News Items
Russian Methodist congregation clashes with
SMOLENSK COURT DENIES METHODIST PASTOR'S LAWSUIT AGAINST BISHOP OF
Interfax, 6 June 2008
A Smolensk court rejected the demands of the plaintiff, pastor of a
local Methodist congregation, Alexander Vtorov, in his suit against
Bishop of Viazemsk Ignatii for compensation for moral damages, the
local diocese reported to an Interfax-Religion correspondent on Friday.
In January of this year Smolensk Methodists published on the Internet
an announcement about the opening in the city of a missionary college
named for Jung Song Pak. The text of the announcement reported that
Jung Song Pak was "a missionary who sacrificed his life for the sake of
the regeneration of Christianity in Russia at the end of the twentieth
century and the beginning of the twenty-first (in a period of great
decline in the virtue and the morality of Russians)."
In connection with this Bishop Ignatii sent a letter to the Smolensk
prosecutor's office calling for protection of citizens, especially
youth, "from this pseudoreligious organization." The bishop expressed
the opinion that the activity of a Methodist college would lead "not to
the regeneration of the spiritual and moral foundations of the life of
our people but to its spiritual destruction."
In response, Methodist Pastor Vtorov, on 22 February, accused Bishop
Ignatii in court of propaganda of ethnic and religious hatred and
supremacism, as well as of "compulsion of people to renounce Methodist
convictions and join Orthodoxy."
A. Vtorov demanded recovery from the defendant for "moral harm," in his
words, inflicted, first, against the Methodist congregation of
Smolensk, on the order of ten million rubles, and, second, to the
pastor himself, also of ten million rubles. (tr. by PDS, posted 6
UNITED METHODIST PASTOR CHARGES ORTHODOX BISHOP WITH INCITING RELIGIOUS
v svetskom obshchestve
Pastor Alexander Vtorov of the United Methodist church of the city of
Smolensk accused the secretary of the Smolensk diocese, a vicar of the
Smolensk diocese of RPTsMP, Bishop of Viazemsk Ignatii Punin, of
incitement of interreligious strife, the press service of the Slavic
Legal Center reports.
The occasion for the accusation was a whole series of investigations on
the part of law enforcement agencies initiated, according to the
pastor's claim, by a representative of the Smolensk and Kaliningrad
diocese of RPTs.
As Methodist Pastor Alexander Vtorov affirms, the persecution of his
congregation began in January 2008. According to the pastor, "On 22
January 2008 Bishop of Viazemsk Ignatii planned and conducted
harassment of the Methodist church, sending simultaneously an appeal to
law enforcement agencies, the Directorate for Combating Organized
Crime, the Inspection for Affairs of Minors, police precinct, the
Department of Education, the provincial Division of Internal Affairs,
and the prosecutor's office, demanding they "take measures for
protecting residents of our city and especially the youth from this
pseudoreligious organization." In Bishop Ignatii's appeal, which was
presented to the pastor at the prosecutor's office, it is stated that
the occasion for the letter from the diocese was the opening of a
college in the Smolensk Methodist church. Bishop Ignatii affirmed in
the appeal: "It is completely obvious that the activity of this
Methodist college will lead not to the regeneration of the spiritual
and moral foundations of the life of our nation but to its spiritual
The appeal was followed by a series of investigations which the
Methodist church calls "acts of intimidation." Actions occurred on 30
and 31 January, 4, 11, 15, and 22 February 2008. In particular,
Vtorov's appeal to the commander of the Directorate for Combating
Organized Crime says: "On 30 January 2008 at 10:00 a.m. two
officers of the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the
Department of Internal Affairs for Smolensk province entered the church
building without announcing the basis and occasion of their action and
proclaimed their religious superiority and intentionally offended our
feelings, as citizens of Russia, based upon our religious affiliation
and subjected me and my wife to compulsion in determining our religious
affiliation and confession of faith." On 31 January "a person from the
precinct dressed in a police uniform arrived and questioned us about
our religious affiliation and confession of faith, about our family
status, and about the work of the church, and he recorded our answers
along with his notes in his service notebook."
A letter of 3 February 2008 from the pastor of the Smolensk Methodist
church regarding possible reasons for the investigations received no
answer. The letter from the Smolensk diocese to Pastor Alexander Vtorov
became known on 22 February. Then the pastor of the Methodist church
filed suit in court against Bishop of Viazemsk Ignatii for compensation
for moral damages.
A corresponding declaration was sent by the pastor also to the
prosecutor's office. It noted that on the recommendation of the
Department of Education of Smolensk province, materials about the
opening of a Methodist Missionary College had been removed from the web
site of the Smolensk Methodist curch. In addition, Pastor Alexander
Vtorov described in detail the consequences of the appeal composed by
the bishop of the Smolensk diocese. In the pastor's opinion, the
bishop's letter contained in itself, and produced in practice,
incitement of ethnic and religious enmity and hatred, national and
religious supremicism, and it also was linked to compulsion to renounce
Methodist convictions and to join Orthodoxy. The goals of Bishop
Ignatii's appeal, according to Alexander Vtorov, was "harassment of a
local religious organization, the United Methodist church of the city
of Smolensk, by means of persecution by repeated investigation on the
part of law enforcement agencies, the Directorate for Combating
Organized Crime of the Division of Internal Affairs for Smolensk
province, the Inspection for Affairs of Minors, police precinct, the
Department of Education for Smolensk province, the provincial Division
of Internal Affairs, and the prosecutor's office for Smolensk province,
using as the occasion for persecution the plans of the local religious
organization of the United Methodist church of Smolensk to created for
its internal needs a missionary college."
The "Word of God" Methodist parish was created by the missionary
Alexander Vtorov in 1989. On 24 December 1996 the congregation was
registered as the Smolensk Methodist church. In August 2000 the annual
conference of the Russian United Methodist church recognized the
Smolensk "Word of God" parish as an independent "Methodist Church" of
the city of Smolensk and received it as a member of the association. In
connection with this, in May 2002 the Smolensk "Word of God" parish was
reregistered as the "United Methodist Church" of the city of Smolensk.
In December 2002 the church acquired a wooden building for constructing
a house of worship there. In the Smolensk parish there operate a
children's studio (puppet theater), a youth ministry café called
"Kovcheg" [Ark], a "Mothers at prayer" parenting ministry, free
computer classes for city residents, and a Sunday school for children
and adults. The church also planned to open a Methodist Missionary
college named for Pak Jung Song, an evangelist who recently died, who
participated a great deal in the life of the Methodist of Smolensk (Pak
Jung Song helped acquire the building for the congregation, and he
conducted active evangelistic work, despite being brutally beaten by
skinheads). (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)
COURT LIQUIDATES CONGREGATION OF SMOLENSK METHODISTS BECAUSE OF SUNDAY
SCHOOL ATTENDED BY FOUR PUPILS
Portal-credo.ru 27 March 2008
A Sunday school, "Our Little Hearts," which was attended by four
children, became the cause of the liquidation of the Smolensk United
Methodist church by a provincial court on 24 March, Pastor Alexander
Vtorov reported to Forum 18.
The court agreed with the local Department for Combating Organized
Crime that the Methodists violated the law by conducting "educational
activity in a Sunday school without the appropriate license."
Investigations of the congregation began after a complaint by a bishop
of the Smolensk diocese of RPTsMP Ignatii. Originally the claims were
against a missionary college planned by the Methodists, and then there
arose the question of the Sunday school.
Vladimir Riakhovsky of the Slavic Legal Center, located in Moscow, is
concerned that the liquidation of the Methodist congregation will
increase the threat for other religious education. "Almost every
religious organization has a Sunday school," he stated in an interview
with Forum 18. "Do they intend to liquidate all of them?" In other
places religious education without a license has already led to
searches and closures of religious organizations.
The Smolensk provincial court dissolved the United Methodist church in
response to a petition from the provincial prosecutor, church pastor
Alexander Vtorov told Forum 18. When Forum 18 tried to phone the
prosecutor Elena Sudarenkova, who is dealing with this case, the
telephone was never answered.
Liquidation of a religious organization by a court means loss of the
status of legal entity, and is not a complete prohibition. It ceases
any public activity by Methodists as an organization, as such, for
example, evangelistic activity.
According to the law on education of 1992, a license is required for
conducting teaching, the prosecutor's office declared. However Pastor
Vtorov insists that Sunday school is "not a place of training clergy
and receiving professional religious education, but an instrument for
teaching religion and for religious training of our adherents."
According to the law on religions of 1997, religious instruction, in
contrast to religious education, may be conducted without a license.
Attorney Riakhovsky maintains that "Our Little Hearts" is "not even a
Sunday school, on the usual understanding, but a place where four
children were tended to for the course of 45 minutes so that they would
not bother the congregation during worship services."
"We are Methodists, and we do not wish to become Orthodox, regardless
of how greatly they try to frighten us," Pastor Vtorov told Forum
18. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)
CASE OF LIQUIDATED SMOLENSK METHODIST CHURCH TO BE REVIEWED BY SUPREME
COURT OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION
23 May 2008
A review by the Supreme Court of the Russian federation of the appeal
of the civil suit of the prosecutor's office of Smolensk province for
the liquidation of the United Methodist church of the city of Smolensk
was scheduled for 10 June, the press service of the Slavic Legal Center
reported. According to attorney Vladimir Riakhovsky, in the event the
Supreme Court of Russia finds the decision of the Smolensk provincial
court correct, it will create a dangerous precedent of liquidation of a
religious association for elementary teaching of the basics of religion
within the parameters of an informal Sunday school, since such schools
operate in the majority of Orthodox parishes and other religious
organizations. . . .
The law suit by the provincial prosecutor's office requesting the
liquidation of the Methodist church for its Sunday school is dated 28
February 2008 and signed by the prosecutor of the province, state
counselor third class Yu.V. Verkhovtsev. The prosecutor cited point 6
and point 7 of article 33 of the Russia law "On education," in
accordance with which an education institution acquires the right to
conduct educational activity from the moment it received a license. On
the basis of points 2,3, and 4, of article 5 of the Russian law "On
freedom of conscience and religious associations" the prosecutor
recognizes that religious associations have the right, in accordance
with their charters and the legislation of RF, to create educational
institutions. However at the same time the law suit emphasized that
according to a letter from the Ministry of Education of RF of 4 June
1999, "On granting to religious organizations the possibility of
teaching religion to children outside of the curricula in the premises
of state and municipal educational institutions" the forms and methods
of instruction may not violate federal legislation in the sphere
Thus, the prosecutor draws the conclusion that from the meaning of the
norms of the law "On education" and the law on freedom of conscience it
follows that conducting educational activity directly by a religious
organization without obtaining a state license is not permitted.
The Methodist church is guilty of organizing a Sunday school, "Our
Little Hearts," which does not have legal existence or a license.
Children from ages 4 to 14 study in the school and they are taught by
teachers on a volunteer basis. The law suits points to evidence of the
educational process: a pastor's notebook, containing names of pupils,
teaching materials, and notes about the acquisition of knowledge at
classes in Christianity. Prosecutor Verkhovtsev notes that the textbook
resources, "Bible in Pictures" and "Book of Life" do not contain
information about who confirmed them and permitted their use as
resources in the educational process. . . .
In the opinion of Pastor Alexander Vtorov, the suit for the liquidation
of the Methodist church was the response of the prosecutor to an appeal
by a vicar bishop of the Smolensk and Kaliningrad diocese of RPTsMP,
Ignatii, with regard to the necessity of investigation of the Methodist
church. According to Vtorov, the prosecutor also rushed to liquidate
the church because on 22 February the pastor filed a suit in court
against Bishop Ignatii. . . .(tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)
Religion News Current News Items
Outbreak of desecration of graves
FLAMES IN THE CHURCHYARD.
New wave of cemetery vandalism overflows Russia
RPTsMP blames Satanist youth
by Mikhail Belyi, Svetlana Kamyshina
Novye izvestiia, 5 June 2008
Residents of Penza are upset about a crime committed in the night of 2
June. At the Mironosits cemetery unknown persons made a bonfire of
funeral wreaths at a monument to soldiers who perished in the Great
Patriotic War. In the last few days cemetery vandals have suddenly
become active in a number of regions of Russia: in Bashkiria, Evenka,
Sverdlovsk province, Nizhny Novgorod, and St. Petersburg. The
vandals have various motives, from national intolerance to elementary
hooliganism. At the same time, rights advocates are inclined to
consider such cases will be repeated again and again, since neither the
police nor cemetery security have the resources to keep the graves
under constant guard.
Residents of Penza cannot recall anything like this: unknown
persons appear at night in the city cemetery where they throw wreaths
into a heap and build a bonfire at the monument to fallen troops.
Reports of the incidents reach police long after the miscreants have
disappeared. They perform the orgy in the dead of night. It is
known only that the crime was committed by young people dressed in
black jackets. At the present time police are conducting an
investigation of this case. Experts, in their turn, are evaluating the
possibility of restoring the monument; it was seriously damaged by the
In recent days there has been an outburst of cemetery vandalism in
Russia. In the capital of Bashkiria, unknown persons in the Demsk
cemetery broke crosses on the graves of St. Moses of Ufa and three
other clergymen, broke tombstones, and painted them with black felt
markers. This happened on the eve of St. Moses' commemoration day. The
Ufa diocese of the RPTs issued a statement that says that this may be
the work of the hands of young satanists; on one of the cemetery signs
an inscription was left with the names of an "explicitly satanist" rock
group and corresponding symbols. Several months earlier similar
inscriptions were drawn on the wall of the cemetery security building.
The diocese suggests that "satanists frequently have gathered in the
Demsk cemetery, but this has, for some reason, been ignored by the
administration and the security of the cemetery."
In Sverdlovsk province, a vandal suddenly destroyed ten monuments in
one of the local cemeteries. After his arrest he stated that he did the
crime in an unconscious condition. In Evenka three youths went to a
cemetery over the course of several days and upset grave markers and
ripped photographs of the deceased. In Chuvashia recently at an old
cemetery in the region of the botanical garden unknown persons knocked
over 28 monuments and set fire to several crosses. A criminal case was
opened for an incident of desecration of nine graves in the Jewish
section of the "Marina grove" cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod, including
the tomb of the former rabbi of Nizhny Novgorod, Judah Bernstein.
Several days before this nine Muslim graves were desecrated in the
Novosormov cemetery. In May, in Ulan-Ude, more than 300 gravestones
were overturned and broken. Dozens of graves were broken into by
vandals in Peterhof.
Rights defenders and public figures are inclined to think that law
enforcement agencies cannot deal with this problem by themselves. In
addition, this is a matter that is not merely criminal but also
moral. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)
Russian original posted on Portal-credo.ru,
6 June 2008
Religion News Current News Items
Ukrainian president wants united church
MOSCOW CALLS KIEV TO AVOID UNILATERAL STEPS IN THE CHURCH QUESTION
6 June 2008
Commenting for journalists on the results of a meeting of the
presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov stated that Moscow has called for avoidance of unilateral steps
in the church question. This was reported by RIA Novosti.
According to Lavrov, Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yushchenko discussed
the upcoming jubilee of the baptism of Kievan Rus as well as the idea
supported by Yushchenko of the creation of a single local Orthodox
church in Ukraine that would lose canonical connections with the Moscow
"It is necessary to avoid unilateral steps, especially in relations
among churches," Lavrov said.
He emphasized that it is necessary to be very cautious in solving such
questions. "We think that this idea has been heard," the head of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The church question is one of the most acute in Ukraine. Constantinople
considers the separation of the Kievan metropolia from the ecumenical
patriarchate in 1686 and its unification with the Moscow patriarchate
to have been illegal. The president of Ukraine has advocated the
creation of a united local Orthodox church in Ukraine. At a meeting on
20 May with a delegation of the ecumenical patriarchate he reported
that the Ukrainian Orthodox church intends to return to the bosom of
the Constantinople patriarchate. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2008)
VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO AND DMITRY MEDVEDEV DISCUSS SPECIFICS OF UPCOMING
CELEBRATION OF 1020TH ANNIVERSARY OF BAPTISM OF RUS
Religiia i SMI, 7
Dmitry Medvedev warned Ukrainian authorities against unilateral steps
in relations between the countries and also recalled the importance of
respect for believers' feelings.
At conversations between Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yushchenko in St.
Petersburg on Friday the topic of the 1020th anniversary of the baptism
of Rus was brought up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reported.
He said that processes which now are under way in Ukraine for the
creation of a united Ukrainian Orthodox church are not shared by Russia.
"Our position is simple: it is necessary to avoid unilateral
steps in relations between the countries and especially in such a
sphere as the relations between churches. Within the parameters of
Orthodoxy there is agreement about canonical territories and it is
necessary to deal with this extremely cautiously, because this problem
affects the feelings of believers," the head of Russia's foreign policy
establishment declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 June 2008)
Religion News Current News Items
Russian Orthodox reject interconfessional worship
MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE CONFIRMS INTENTION TO REFRAIN FROM PARTICIPATION IN
JOINT SERVICES WITH NONORTHODOX
12 May 2008
Once again it has been asserted in the Russian Orthodox church of the
Moscow patriarchate that they do not consider it possible for Orthodox
persons to perform divine services jointly with representatives of
other Christian confessions.
"We wish to affirm once again our intention to refrain from
participation in joint worship with persons of other confessions," a
worker in the Secretariat for Inter-Christian Relations of the
Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, the
priest Alexander Vasiutin, told the "Interfax-Religion" portal.
He said that this matter has acquired new pertinence in the process of
preparing for the XIII General Assembly of the Conference of European
Churches which is scheduled for July 2009 in Lyons (France).
The news agency's interlocutor, who also is a member of the assembly's
organizing committee, noted that "the position of the Russian Orthodox
church, unfortunately, does not always meet with understanding among
representatives of other local Orthodox churches."
As an example, Fr Alexander told how at a recent session of the
organizing committee Metropolitan of Gaul Emmanuel (Constantinople
patriarchate) responded to the suggestion of refraining from performing
interconfessional worship at the assembly by saying that "the position
of representatives of the Moscow patriarchate on this matter reminds
one of the behavior of a man who has a wife but doesn't sleep with her."
In addition, the representative of Constantinople posed the question,
"why do representatives of the Moscow patriarchate always refuse to
participate in joint worship with non-Orthodox, while Patriarch Alexis
II of Moscow and all-Rus participated in joint worship with Catholic
clergy in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris when he was there?"
"There is no need to repeat the information disseminated by many church
and secular news media that in reality an Orthodox prayer service was
conducted in the Paris Notre Dame cathedral at which representatives of
the Roman Catholic church were merely present, including Archbishop of
Paris André Vingt-Trois. But one cannot speak of any joint service or
worship in this case," Fr Alexander stressed. (tr. by PDS, posted 6
MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE HOPES ROMANIAN CHURCH WILL GIVE REASONABLE
EXPLANATION REGARDING ROMANIAN METROPOLITAN'S TAKING COMMUNION WITH
30 May 2008
"Information about the Romanian Orthodox metropolitan's taking
communion at a Catholic liturgy has become a sensation for journalists,
but for Orthodox believers it is a source of misunderstanding and
confusion. We have recently received many questions, including from
clergy and believers of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Everyone is perplexed; could this really have happened that an Orthodox
bishop of such a high rank publicly violated canonical norms and
ecclesiastical discipline? One doesn't want to believe it, but the
published photographs have made a strong impression. We hope that more
reasonable explanations will follow from representatives of the
Romanian Orthodox church," a secretary for inter-Orthodox relations of
the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate,
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, stated on 29 May.
We recall that according to a report of the press service of the Greek
Catholic church of Romania, on 25 May in the Romanian city of
Timisoara, Orthodox Metropolitan of Banat Nicolae Corneanu participated
in the consecration of a Greek Catholic church. It has been established
that in the course of the liturgy "a miracle happened." Corneanu went
up to the altar and asked permission to take communion, after which he
did so. The report from the press service of the Greek Catholic church
of Romania noted that this was the first such case of communion of an
Orthodox clergyman along with Catholics since 1700.
In its turn, the press service of the Romanian Orthodox church issued a
statement on this matter in which, specifically, is noted that "The
Romanian patriarchate does not possess specific and reliable
information confirming this event. At the next session of the synod of
the Romanian church, which will be held at the beginning of July 2008,
Metropolitan Nikolai may be asked for appropriate explanations in
connection with this incident.
The Romanian patriarchate also stated that the current dialogue of the
Orthodox church with the Roman Catholic church is rather fragile, even
without this, and it cannot be improved but only complicated by such
gestures, the news agency Regnum reports. (tr. by PDS, posted 6
Religion News Current News Items
Protestant leaders object to teaching Orthodoxy in
HEADS OF LARGEST PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONS OF VORONEZH PROVINCE ANNOUNCE
"UNDESIRABLE CONSEQUENCES" OF INTRODUCING FOUNDATIONS OF ORTHODOX
CULTURE INTO SCHOOLS.
2 June 2008
Leaders of the four largest protestant associations of Voronezh
province—The Russian Union of Evangelical Christians Baptists (RSEKhB),
senior pastor Peter Mirechik, the Church of Seventh-day Adventists
(TsASD), Bishop Nikolai Ostrovsky, the Association of Missions of
Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals) (KhVE(P), Senior Bishop
Boris Sinebabnov and Bishop Andrei Bashmakov, and the Russian
Associated Methodist Church (ROMTs), Senior Pastor for the Central
Chernozem region, Igor Volovodov—signed on 2 June an open letter to the
plenipotentiary for human rights of the Russian federation, the Public
Chamber of Voronezh province, the Public Interconfessional Consultative
Council of the Voronezh regional duma, the Chief Administration of
Education of Voronezh province, the governor of Voronezh province, and
the Voronezh diocesan administration of RPTsMP, expressing their
negative opinion of the full scale introduction of "Foundations of
Orthodox Culture" (OPK) into the schools of Russia, a Portal-credo.ru
The leaders of religious organizations who signed the open letter are
members of the Pastoral Council of Voronezh province.
In the beginning of the letter the members of the Pastoral Council
observe "a positive tendency in the development of interconfessional
harmony in Voronezh and Voronezh province," which, as they write,
"facilitates the activity of the Interconfessional Council of the
regional duma under the leadership of A.F. Dubikov."
The activity of the Interconfessional Council of the region, in the
opinion of the authors of the document, facilitates a dialogue "between
evangelical Christian confessions and the leading Christian confession
of Russia, the Russian Orthodox church, as well as representatives of
other confessions, . . . the development of mutual understanding, . . .
and social stability and harmony."
Along with this, "thinking about ways of improved ministry to people,"
the Pastoral Council expresses concern in connection with the
introduction of OPK into the system of general education. Among
the "undesirable consequences" of this process the authors of the
document specify the formation of representations about the "alien
nature" for Russian culture of representatives of other confessions;
information about the cultural diversity of confessions; division of
the younger generation into "ours" and "theirs" with respect to
confessional identification; destabilization of social life; hostility
of the regions of Russia on the basis of confessions; and
intrusion of "the Church of Christ itself, not just the Orthodox
church, into political processes." As one of the consequences of the
introduction of OPK, the believers point to the formation of a negative
attitude on the part of children toward the church.
At the same time, the Council of Christian Protestant churches of
Voronezh province expresses its adherence to the constitutional
principles of separation of church and state, equality of the rights of
believers before the law, and the neutrality of the system of education
in religious matters. "Schools of general education," in the
opinion of the writers of the document, "must guarantee a knowledge of
the history of religion within the parameters of the study of history,
without giving preference to any particular confession."
The protestant leaders expressed the hope that "the state will
recognize and value the contribution that Christian protestant churches
have made along with the leading confession of Russia, the Russian
Orthodox church, in creating a healthy society, freed from nationalism
and religious chauvinism and professing Christian moral values.
(tr. by PDS, posted 5 June 2008)
Religion News Current News Items
Ukrainian charismatic church wishes for real
freedom of conscience
NIGERIAN PREACHER POSES "CHALLENGES" TO UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
5 June 2008
The leader of the charismatic sect "Embassy of God," the Nigerian
Sunday Adelaja, thinks that the activity of his organization serves as
a stimulus for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, "Interfax-Religion"
"I think that the presence here of such a church as the "Embassy of
God" enlivens the Orthodox church so that it will be more engaged in
direct work with people and the regeneration of the human soul, rather
than in business or politics," the press service of the Ukrainian
church quotes S. Adelaja, citing the website "LiGABiznesinform."
Responding to a question whether the "Embassy of God" competes with
Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the pastor noted that his church rather "poses
challenges, but it does not compete."
S. Adelaja thinks also that "so long as there is a Ukrainian nation,
there will be a Ukrainian Orthodox church."
If the charismatic leader were asked to head up the Ministry of
Religious Affairs of Ukraine, then, he says, he would summon to his
office a team of Orthodox metropolitans and representatives of other
religions. "If one could propose such a scenario, which, in my opinion,
is impossible, then I would first try to make all religions equal so
that there would really be freedom of conscience in this country,"
The "Embassy of God" is one of the charismatic sects that has recently
become widespread in Ukraine. At the meetings of its adepts,
representatives of this organization use mass hypnosis, trying to raise
in people an elevated condition which is accompanied by hysteria and
ecstasy, which they perceive to be a manifestation of the work of the
Before his election to the post of Kiev city leader, the current mayor
of the Ukrainian capital, Leonid Chernovetsky, also was a pastor in
this organization. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 June 2008)
WEB-CONFERENCE WITH PASTOR ADELAJA ADDRESSES CHURCH’S ROLE IN UKRAINIAN
Information Service of Ukraine, 5 June 2008
Pastor Sunday Adelaja was the guest participant in an
internet-conference held at liga.net’s press center in Kyiv. Questions
for the church leader included: How did the Embassy of God became the
largest Charismatic Church in Europe in the past 14 years? How did
Chernovetskyi win the elections for mayor again? Why and to what extent
is the Embassy of God Church active in the public and political life of
Kyiv? RISU’s Ukrainian-language webpage posted this story on 3 May 2008.
“The Embassy of God is not just a dogmatic Church,” explained Adelaja.
“It is, first of all, a place of education, wisdom, and understanding,
all of which elevate people and make them fit for life. Parishoners are
educated enough that they can solve even public and political issues.”
Conference participants were concerned about the combination of
“church” and “state,” specifically asking if it did not contradict the
Bible. “Politics cannot contradict the Bible, as God created politics
in the same way he created all things visible or invisible to glorify
Him,” answered the pastor.
Adelaja had only positive things to say about the major of Kyiv, Leonid
Chernovetskyi: “He assumed office as a rich man. He could not decline
the salary, but instead his salary is contributed to a fund for
low-income groups of Kyiv. May God grant that all our politicians
become like this.” When asked about the recipe for Chernovetskyi’s
success, Adelaja said: “There is no secret here. First, one should
become a truly believing person who reads the Bible and attends Church.
Second, it is necessary to show that you love people and act
accordingly. This way, everyone will be able to see the image of Christ
in you. There will be no need to campaign; people will simply elect
you.” (posted 6 June 2008)
Related article: "Communists prefer Orthodox mayor of Kiev
," October 26, 2007