Pentecostals complain of national campaign against them


Religiia i Pravo, 16 August 2019


On 30 August 2019, a court case will begin in Samara, which was initiated by the Department of Urban Planning against a religious organization of Christians of Evangelical Faith, "Gospel First Apostolic Christian Mission of Mercy."


The plaintiff demands the removal of the prayer house of the protestant Christians, which is a one-story building of about 500 square meters in the third ward of the village of Mekhzavod. In addition, the Department of Urban Planning demands that the court find the building to be an unapproved structure and to demolish a surrounding fence built by believers where, according to parishioners, it is planned to build a church in the future.


The administration of the Krasnoglinsky district of Samara, the Gosstroinadzor, and the office of Rosreestr for Samara oblast are involved in the trial as third parties.


According to information from the pastor of the "Gospel" mission, Yury Ivanov, the temporary prayer house was built in 1996-97 on a parcel of land of 2,143 square meters, which was allocated to the religious organization by the city administration.


He said that problems began when documents were submitted for reregistration "in accordance with current requirements of legislation." The pastor notes that the Department of Urban Planning "sends the documents around and returns them without anything," and therefore the religious society intends to file a countersuit in order to require the governmental agency to conduct the reregistration in accordance with existing rules.


In Yury Ivanov's opinion, the real reason for the problems during reregistration described for his congregation is a deliberate campaign against small religious organizations. "There is an ordinary process going on like throughout the country," the pastor thinks. "Everywhere issues are being raised against non-Orthodox religious organizations."


Meanwhile in the third ward of the village of Mekhzavod the construction of a mosque is being awaited. The regional ecclesiastical board of Muslims of Samara oblast has raised for public hearings an issue about the possibility of exceptions from maximum permitted parameters for the construction of a house of worship. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 August 2019)

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