||FIRST, THE NEWS:
CHURCHES FALL VICTIM TO RUSSIA'S 'HOLY WAR' IN EAST UKRAINE
from Ukraine Today
(10 Mar) The eight month long battle for territory around Donetsk International Airport has brought extensive damage to the surrounding neighbourhood. Local residents who stayed behind now face the arduous process of piecing their lives back together. Amid the ruins, a dome of a local Orthodox Church - Saint Ignatius Church, built after Ukraine became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, is located about one kilometer from the symbolic important airport complex. Elderly residents walked through the damaged gates of the church, to begin the task of clearing the rubble and salvaging whatever remained inside the church.
Alexander Namagonov, Archbishop, said: "We thought we would return to a normal, peaceful life. But we only had three services here for Christmas, the Yule, and then again massive shelling started, and several times shells landed straight on the cupola, the roof - on the baptistery, where the administrative office is." Members of the church congregation carried damaged window frames, bricks and destroyed decorations out of the church. The Archbishop said the few that had turned up to help were all that was left of his congregation. "This is pretty much what is left of our congregation. If earlier there were 150 to 200 people in the service, and then after the military action (there were) 20-30 people at maximum, they have all now left," said the Archbishop. Local residents that fled the worst fighting in east Ukraine have no homes to return to. [read more...]
TURKMENISTAN: "WHO CAN FORBID US FROM PRAYING?" YET RAIDS, FINES CONTINUE
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(12 Mar) Narmurad Mominov, a Protestant leader from Galkynysh in Lebap Region of eastern Turkmenistan, was fined two weeks' average local wages in late February after police raided a private home, local Protestants told Forum 18 News Service. Many of those present were held until the early hours of the morning, while some were pressured to renounce or change their faith. One who did so was told to "repent" publicly in the mosque.
During a search, police had found a copy of the New Testament and blamed Mominov for giving it to the home owner. Local Protestants had feared that he could have been given as much as a 15-day jail term. One Baptist home owner in Mary told police intruders who seized four hymnbooks from her guests: "Who can forbid us from praying? Who can forbid us from inviting others as guests?" [read more...]
PRIEST FROM DONBASS ABDUCTED, BEATEN NEAR KIEV
(11 Mar) Unknown individuals abducted and beat up a priest from the Donetsk Region in the city of Borispol, Kiev Region of Ukraine. The police have determined that the priest had come to the Kiev Region to visit his family, who had to move to Borispol when the fighting began in Donbass. The priest did not leave his service and stayed in the Makeyevka District of the Donetsk Region.
"The priest's wife met him at a Kiev railway station and the spouses headed to Borispol. When they were approaching the residence, a dark gray car drove up. Three masked men got out of it and forced the priest to get into the car. The car drove off in an unknown direction and the woman immediately called the police," the report says. A criminal case has been opened on the basis of the article of the Ukrainian Criminal Code dealing with illegal imprisonment and abduction. [read more...]
RUSSIA: PROSECUTIONS FOR PUBLIC EVANGELISM AND PUBLIC MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP
by Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service
(2 Mar) Communities who exercise freedom of religion or belief in public without Russian state permission may find their members facing five-figure Rouble fines if they do not inform the local authorities in advance, Forum 18 News Service notes. It is possible that changes to the Religion Law may have a positive effect on cases currently before the courts, such as that of a Sochi Protestant leader fined for holding prayers and a Bible study in a rented cafe'. The FSB security service was behind that case, sending officials to attend the meeting.
However, a new Criminal Code Article 212.1 may have a chilling effect on exercising freedom of religion or belief in public. The Sochi Bible study group has ceased to meet fearing prosecution under this Article, their lawyer told Forum 18 News Service. However, Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis thinks the authorities may seek to avoid prosecuting religious or belief communities under this article. "Political protesters will go first," he thought. [read more...]
UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE COUNCIL TO IMPLEMENT CHAPLAINCY SERVICE
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(6 Mar) The Council for the Pastoral Care has prepared proposals for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine to introduce the chaplaincy service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Head of the Department for Social and Humanitarian Policy Vitaliy Yakymchuk told the representatives of churches about some aspects of the approved provisions concerning military clergymen (chaplains) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is expected that a specialized chaplaincy agency will be set up under the Ministry of Defense, which will include about 10 experts.
Secretary of the Council for Pastoral Care Fr. Lubomyr Yavorskyy (UGCC) commented on the need to establish cooperation between the Council and this agency. In particular, it was deemed important to hold preliminary consultations with representatives of the Ministry regarding the appointment of heads of the chaplaincy service at the central and territorial level, which should meet the highest ethical standards and understand the essence of chaplains’spiritual ministry. Council members discussed the possible structure that will be formed with representatives of the military command and the priests, chaplains. Representatives of Churches established a working group to develop a model employment contract with the military priest (chaplain) and a model agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Defense and religious organizations on the religious care of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. [read more...]
MILITANTS SEIZE CHURCH BUILDING IN LUGANSK REGION, UKRAINE
(6 Mar) Militants seized again the building of the church "House of Prayer for all nations" in Anthracit, Lugansk region of Ukraine. This was said in the press office of All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (AUCECB) in reference to the pastor of the church, reports The Christian Telegraph. "On March 4, during the day unknown people came with guns and left after they evaluated the building. A little later, at 4 pm, they came back and reported that the building must be vacated. According to the words of the militants, the reason for seizure is that the building was needed to accommodate fighters from under Debaltseve, Lugansk region," said the pastor.
There are 70 adults and children who were attending the church. During the week there were various services that were regularly held: two on Sundays, a prayer ministry, women's ministry, children and youth ministry. Also, the church provides charity dinners for the local residents of Anthracit. "Pray for us to help get back the house of prayer," asked the pastor. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
FIRE IN BELL TOWER OF NIZHNY NOVGOROD CATHEDRAL EXTINGUISHED
INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN UKRAINE: 1.4 MILLION
from Mission Network News
MILITANTS DAMAGED EIGHT ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN LUHANSK REGION, SAYS LOCAL ADMINISTRATION
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
MOSCOW CHURCH DENIES CLAIMS OF CAPITULATION TO RUSSIA
METROPOLITAN HILARION: STORY OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING IS THE CORE OF THE GOSPEL
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
HELP RESTORE LIVES IN UKRAINE TORN APART BY HATRED AND VIOLENCE
from Russian Ministries
RUSSIAN PRO-LIFE POLITICIAN AGAINST USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR 'CHILD MURDER'
from The Moscow Times
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Our first news article CHURCHES FALL VICTIM TO RUSSIA'S 'HOLY WAR' IN EAST UKRAINE brought me a feeling of agony and deep sorrow, as I saw in the video how a once-beautiful and thriving church had been desecrated and nearly demolished by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine, near Donetsk. A double pain hit me as I read the name of the church - "Saint Ignatius Church." This is the name of the church where we were received into the holy Orthodox faith, but in the USA. The article doesn't mention which jurisdiction the church belonged to, whether Moscow, Kyiv or UAOC - but at this point it hardly matters. Churches are being destroyed, people are being killed or driven out of their homes, a country lies in ruins... Lord, have mercy!
And in our fourth news article RUSSIA: PROSECUTIONS FOR PUBLIC EVANGELISM AND PUBLIC MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP we are witnessing a return to the Soviet-style of religious repression. Any open, public expression of religious faith is now illegal in Russia, it seems ...unless it is the state-approved ideology. This pattern is being followed, however, not just in Russia or former Soviet republics. We see it happening here, when a Christian is fired from his job for saying publicly that he believes adultery or homosexuality is sinful. Secularism has come to the point where it doesn't tolerate any views or beliefs other than its own. Thus "toleration" has come to mean that you can believe anything in general, but nothing in particular!
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Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff. - Frank Zappa