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countries of CIS
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Religion News Current News Items
Arrest of Ukrainian pastor denied
PASTOR ADELAJA ADVISES EVERYBODY TO RELAX; NOBODY WILL ARREST HIM
6 June 2011
Yesterday in the "Embassy of God" a wedding was celebrated and Pastor
Sunday Adelaja conducted the ceremony, who, according to news media
reports, was arrested by the security service the other day, but later
this incident was denied. We recall, the pastor is associated with the
"King's Capital" case and is free on his own recognizance.
The wedding ceremony was held in an enormous tent of Izhevskaia Street,
where the "Embassy" conducts worship services. The groom and bride,
dressed in traditional wedding garments, at the first mounted the
stage, danced, and began describing the history of their love. "I chose
him because God is in his eyes!" declared the bride, Masha Simonenko,
who became acquainted with her future husband on social networks thanks
to their common interests—attending the "Embassy."
Then, accompanied by an ovation, Adelaja himself came out to them,
dressed in a snow white suit. He began reading from a paper questions
for the young people, pronounced them husband and wife, and immediately
began talking about himself. "I was at home when I heard about it!" he
said, referring to his "arrest." "Even all together they are too small
to arrest me. Until I finish what I started, I will not die and they
will not arrest me. So you all relax," the pastor assured everybody.
Then the celebration along with a banquet continued on a steamship,
whose rental costs on the order of 5,000 hryvnias per hour. This was
reported by UNIAN. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2011).
Related article: "Ukrainian evangelical minister accused of fraud ", June 2, 2011
Religion News Current News Items
God to remain in Russian anthem
IDEA TO REMOVE "GOD" FROM RUSSIAN ANTHEM SUPPORTED BY ONLY TWO DEPUTIES
6 June 2011
On 3 June the State Duma of the Russian federation declined on first
reading a constitutional draft law of a deputy from the KPRF fraction,
Boris Kashin, for excising from the text of the hymn of Russia the word
"God" as inconsistent with a secular state, RIA Novosti reports.
The author of the draft law proposed changing the text of the state
hymn of the Russian federation, replacing the words "native land
preserved by God" in the twelfth line with the words "native land
preserved by us." In his opinion, the text of the anthem should be
consistent with the provisions of the basic law of the country and
facilitate the consolidation of society on the basis of ideas and
principles understood and accepted by the citizens. According to the
constitution, the Russian federation is a secular state.
"No religion can be established in the capacity of a state or
obligatory religion," an explanatory note to the draft law states.
Kashin noted that he was talking not about "infringing (the rights of)
anyone," but about "recognition of the rights of others."
In the process of the discussion a number of deputies from various
fractions expressed opposition to adoption of such a draft law. Inter
alia, even communists themselves did not support their colleague.
"If one takes faith out of the people's soul, then we will reach a
point of no return. Deputies do not exist in order to drive a stake in
society. It is necessary to consolidate the Russian people," said a
deputy from the KPRF fraction, Sergei Sobko, noting that by Russian he
understands both Bashkirs and Tatars and all representatives of the
multinational Russian people. He said that the fraction opposes this
In his turn the head of the State Duma Committee on Affairs of Public
Associations and Religious Organization, Sergei Popov, from "United
Russia," reported that on dollars, in particular, is the phrase "In God
The responsible Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State
Structure, in its official conclusion, recommended to the chamber to
decline the draft law in connection with the fact that according to
Russian legislation "introducing changes in the text of the state hymn
of the Russian federation is permitted only in the event of adoption of
a new edition of the work."
The head of the committee, Vladimir Pligin, noted that God is something
more than a religious symbol, but it is a worldview question, and at
some moment in life, in his opinion, any person, even a nonbeliever,
may refer to it. "When you wind up on the border of life and death, it
is not known what a person will call to mind at that moment," Pligin
A deputy from the LDPR fraction, Valerii Seleznev, agreed with this
opinion and noted that earlier he was not distinguished by his
religiosity, but literally one month ago life circumstances brought him
to God. "We should not revise the meaning and change the words of the
anthem. It seems to me that this is a populist draft law," he said.
A deputy from the "Fair Russia" fraction, Vera Lekareva, reported that
her fraction does not support this draft law, "whose essence is an
unpardonable intrusion into the poet's text."
In all, two deputies out of 450 voted for Kashin's draft law. Opposed
were 281 deputies. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 June 2011)
Religion News Current News Items
Believers fined and penalized for resisting sign
GROUP OF RESIDENTS OF TULA PROVINCE GO TO COURT REFUSING PASSPORTS WITH
1 June 2011
Three residents of Kimovsk region of Tula province have filed suit in
city court against UFMS [Office of Federal Migration Service] over the
requirement of obtaining a passport with "satanic symbolism."
A review of the law suit is scheduled for 16 June, the press secretary
of the provincial administration of the judicial department, Olga
Diachuk, told Interfax. The plaintiffs have refused to exchange their
soviet passport for a Russian passport for religious reasons. They
claim that the design of the Russian passport includes the symbol
"666," which is blasphemous for believers.
"A person is assigned an identification number, and that means that a
number substitutes for a name, which leads to the reduction of a person
to an object. A believing person cannot consent to renouncing one's
name, since for a Christian the act of baptism has paramount
importance," the plaintiffs declared.
By a decision of UFMS, the violators were brought to administrative
accountability and fined 1,500 rubles each. Since they disagreed with
the decision of the migration service, they filed suit in court.
This is not the first such instance in Kimovsk region. In 2010 Kimovsk
resident Anna Durdinets also refused to exchange her soviet passport
for a Russian because the latter supposedly contained a diabolical
symbol. As a result, the woman does not receive a pension, which is
viewed as a violation of her constitutional rights and she has demanded
of UFMS compensation for damages. A court reviewed the complaint and
rejected the claims for restitution of the violated right and
compensation. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 June 2011)
3 June 2011
It was planned that the 1974 form of soviet passports would be
completely replaced with new Russian passports no later than 2008.
However some residents of the country have not consented to accept the
documents for religious reasons. Meanwhile, official representatives of
RPTsMP do not see the number "666" in the Russian passport. (tr. by
PDS, posted 3 June 2011)
Religion News Current News Items
Patriarch's power grows with creation of new
SYNOD REDIVIDES RUSSIA
Five new dioceses formed within RPTs structure
by Pavel Korobov
Kommersant, 1 June
Yesterday in St. Petersburg a regular session of the Holy Synod of the
Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) was held under the chairmanship of
Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill. The supreme organ of church
administration engaged in reshaping the territorial structure of the
church, as a result of which five new dioceses have appeared on the
administrative map of RPTs.
After the personnel reshuffling in the top levels of church
administration that occurred in 2009, the patriarch decided to deal
with the transformation of the canonical territory. The repatterning of
the territorial administrative structure of RPTs began back at the
previous session of the synod in March 2011, when the decision was made
to create several new dioceses in the northern Caucasus. At the time
the synod resolved to form the Piatigorsk and Cherkess diocese,
including within it parishes of the Mineralnye Vody, Predgornyi, and
Kirov regions of Stavropol territory, as well as the
Kabardino-Balkariia and Karachaevo-Cherkesia republics. At the same the
Vladikavkaz and Makhachkalinsk diocese was created that included
parishes of North Ossetia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya. Before
that the Caucasus region was tended by the Stavropol and Vladikavkaz
diocese, along with the Baku and Prikaspiisk diocese.
"We must review a whole series of important questions affecting the
life of RPTs and the reorganization of several dioceses," Patriarch
Kirill said, beginning the synod's session. "We need to think of what
steps must be taken in order that the church life in a whole series of
regions will be more intense and responsive to the instructions of the
Today in the Russian Orthodox Church there are 164 dioceses, 217 ruling
and assistant bishops, 30,675 parishes, 29,324 priests, and 3,850
deacons. There are 805 monasteries, including 398 for men and 407 for
As a result, yesterday several more dioceses of RPTs were subject to
reorganization. The synod resolved to form within the Estonian Orthodox
Church a diocese of Narva, within the administrative boundaries of the
city of Narva along with several adjacent districts. Bishop of Narva
and Prichudia Lazar was named to rule the new diocese, which is the
second within the Estonian Orthodox Church. Before yesterday, this
territory had been ruled by Metropolitan of Tallin and all-Estonia
In addition, the diocese of Mordovia and Saransk was divided. On the
territory of Mordovia there will appear two new church territorial
units, the dioceses of Krasnoslobodsk and Ardatov. The Tobolsk-Tiumen
diocese also was reorganized. The synod resolved to remove from the
diocese the territories of the Khanty-Mansiisk and Yamalo-Nenets
autonomous districts. Thus two new dioceses were formed: that of
Khanty-Mansiisk and Surgut and also of Salekhard and Novo-Urengoisk.
The Krasnoyarsk and Eniseisk diocese also was restructured. The synod
decided to remove Eniseisk from it. Bishop of Anadyrsk and Chukotka
Nikodim was appointed to lead the new Eniseisk and Norilsk diocese. In
connection with the creation of the new diocese, the ruling bishop in
Krasnoyarsk will have the new title of Krasnoyarsk and Achinsk.
"In Greece, there is a bishop in every city, but we have maintained the
structure from soviet times when one city in a diocese is located 1,000
kilometers from another, and the parishioners do not know who their
ruling bishop is," the director of the press service of the patriarch
of Moscow and all-Rus, Vladimir Vigilianskii, explained for Kommersant
the point of the transformation. "Decrease in the size of dioceses will
improve their manageability."
"The formation of new dioceses is a reform of church administration,
which should strengthen the authority in the provinces," the director
of the Institute of Religion and Law, Roman Lunkin, is convinced. "In a
large diocese, parishes often live by themselves, because the ruling
bishop cannot physically look after all of them. Undoubtedly, the
formation of the new dioceses will improve the administration of the
church, while it also will strengthen the personal authority of the
patriarch; after all, the new bishops are people beholden to
him." (tr. by PDS, posted 2 June 2010)
Religion News Current News Items
Ukrainian evangelical minister accused of fraud
SUNDAY ADELAJA ARRESTED BY SPECIAL FORCES NEAR TRADE CENTER IN KIEV
2 June 2011
Today in a flash two brigades of special forces of the Ukrainian
Security Service arrested the pastor of the "Embassy of God" religious
society, Sunday Adelaja. This report was shared by witnesses of the
incident with a correspondent of the Ekspressinform Information Agency.
Adelaja and two of his recently employed bodyguards were getting out of
a vehicle. Neither the guards nor Sunday Adelaja himself put up any
Adelaja's arrest occurred near the South Bridge in the parking lot of
the Materik Trade Center. It is significant and curious that the jeep
from which Sunday was exiting at the time of the arrest was also
confiscated and, it turned out, was registered to the pastor himself.
Earlier Adelaja reported that the jeep as well as all of his means of
transportation were the property of the church. "After all, the church
cannot permit its pastors to live from hand to mouth and seem like
beggars. To be a pastor is work and it takes a lot of strength and
energy," Ekspressinform quoted Sunday Adelaja as saying.
As the agency noted, Pastor Sunday Adelaja, according to preliminary
estimates, managed to amass illegally property worth 169 million
hryvnias along with 33 million hryvnias in cash.
As noted earlier, the case of Adelaja began back in 2008. He remains
free on his own recognizance. Investigative agencies opened a criminal
case against the pastor of "The Embassy of God," Sunday Adelaja, and
got from him a pledge not to leave the city in connection with the
investigation of the "King's Capital" company for fraud.
It also was earlier reported that Pastor Sunday faces up to 12 years
imprisonment with confiscation of property. Later the deputy minister
of internal affairs, Vasilii Farinnik, declared that Sunday Adelaja had
not given the investigation a reason to arrest him. He also noted that
the investigation of the "King's Capital" company case was completed,
and S. Adelaja and six others, who were criminally liable, were
acquainted with the materials of the case.
Responding to a question whether S. Adelaja will be arrested soon, V.
Farinnik said: "The case is already completed, and the preventive
measure can be changed in the event that he violates the process but it
will be drawn out."
RISU continues to follow information concerning the arrest of Sunday
Adelaja. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 June 2011)
Related article: "Associates of Kiev evangelical pastor indicted
", August 12, 2010
Religion News Current News Items
Disputes over who may be church members
BETWEEN HAMMER AND ANVIL
by Inna Zagrebina, President of Board of Directors of Guild of Experts
on Religion and Law
Information and Analysis Center, 1 June 2011
Recently in several regions of Russia, agencies of justice have begun
demanding of leaders of religious organizations the introduction of
anticonstitutional changes into their charters, indicating that only
residents of the city or settlement in which a religious organization
being examined is located may be members of the religious organization.
Thus, for example, the Chief Administration of the Ministry of Justice
for Moscow province conducted a scheduled document verification of the
local religious organization of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in the
city of Mytishchi. On the basis of the results of the verification a
warning was issued in which it was indicated that the point of the
church's charter stating that residents of Mytishchi and neighboring
regions could be members contradicts points 1 and 3 of article 8 of the
federal law of 26 September 1997, "On freedom of conscience and
religious associations" (subsequently "federal law 125"), since members
of a church are required to reside continuously and on legal bases in
the same locality or in the same urban or rural settlement, in this
case specifically the city of Mytishchi. The warning was appealed, but
on 17 March 2011 a judge of the Mytishchi city court of Moscow
province, M.Yu. Chernushevich, issued a decision denying the appeal in
its entirety. That decision has been appealed.
Meanwhile, in accordance with article 28 of the Russian constitution,
everyone is guaranteed freedom of conscience and religious confession,
including the right to profess individually or jointly with all persons
any religion or to profess none, to choose, possess, and disseminate
freely religious and other convictions, and to act in accordance with
them. This norm is repeated in point 1 of article 3 of federal law 125,
with the addition that foreign citizens and persons without
citizenship, who are legally on the territory of the Russian
federation, enjoy the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of
religious confession on a par with citizens of the Russian federation.
In accordance with article 27 of the Russian constitution, everyone who
is legally on the territory of the Russian federation has the right to
move and to choose freely the place of visitation and residence.
According to article 6 of federal law 125, in the Russian federation a
religious association is recognized to be a voluntary association of
citizens of the Russian federation and other persons continuously and
on a legal basis residing on the territory of the Russian federation.
In accordance with point 3, article 2, nothing in the legislation on
freedom of conscience or freedom of religious confession should be
interpreted in a sense that diminishes or infringes the human and civil
rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religious confession
guaranteed by the Russian constitution or deriving from the
international agreements of the Russian federation.
In addition, point 2 of article 3 of this law contains the explicit
statement that the human and civil right to freedom of conscience and
freedom of religious confession may be restricted by federal law only
to the degree that is necessary to protect the bases of the
constitutional order, morality, health, and human rights and legal
interests of citizens, or guaranteeing the defense of the country and
security of the state.
In other words, immigrants and people without continuous registration,
including foreigners, may be members of a religious organization on the
very same basis as locals who have continuous registration.
The preceding analysis of legislation demonstrates the illegality and
invalidity of the requirements of the regulating agency. The
prosecutor's office of the city of Surgut came to a similar conclusion.
This prosecutor's office conducted a verification of the correspondence
with existing legislation of the charters of religious organizations,
active on the territory of the city. During the verification it was
established that the charters of a number of religious organization did
not comport with the legislation of RF. In particular, several charters
contained points stating that only citizens who had reached the age of
18 and who resided continuously in the same locality or in the same
urban or rural settlement could be members of the religious
Such wording in the charter would be appropriate if we were talking
about the charter members of the religious organization, with respect
to whom federal law 125 established the requirement regarding the
residence of citizens who have decided to found a religious
organization in the same locality and who have reached the age of 18.
However, citizens of the Russian federation and other persons who
reside continuously and on legal bases on the territory of the Russian
federation may be participants (members) of religious organizations, as
shown above, without any restrictions.
As a result, the agencies of the prosecutor's office came to the
defense of the rights and freedoms of citizens. The prosecutor's office
issued to the leaders of the religious organizations protests stating
that restrictions of the rights of citizens, who are on the territory
of the Russian federation legally, to freedom of religious confession
on the basis of age or place of residence are illegal. In connection
with this the prosecutor's office issued a demand that the charters be
brought into compliance with the requirements of the federal law "On
freedom of conscience and religious associations." As a result, the
leaders of the religious organizations fell in between the hammer and
It seems that in the existing situation, acts of prosecutorial
regulation should be issued not only to religious organizations that
are in violation of the law, but also to the agencies of justice that
are insisting on the specific wording in the charters. (tr. by
PDS, posted 1 June 2011)
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