Authorities nervous of prayers?

Minsk City authorities have withdrawn the judicial ruling about compulsory eviction of New Life church from its building, its lawyer Siarhei Lukanin told Belsat TV.

“I received a letter from the Household Management Department of Moscow District of the Minsk City. They refused to take our building away,” he said.

It is to be recalled that the eviction of the church was to take place on December 5, 2012.

After receiving the court summons on the compulsory eviction on November 27 the congregation started day-and-night prayers. The church has been supported by representatives of foreign diplomatic missions; independent mass media covering the issue. Moreover, pastors of the Full Gospel Union churches in the Republic of Belarus signed the appeal of protection for New Life church on the behalf of parishioners of their churches. The letter was sent to the Council of Ministers and the presidential Administration. In the appeal pastors paid attention of the authorities to all the social work which New Life church has been carrying out in the Belarusian society.

For seven years the Minsk City Executive Committee has been making attempts to drive them away. In 2006 the Belarusian authorities stated the church had no right to employ the land for religious purposes. It is noteworthy that it is the parishioners who built premises more than twenty years ago at the site of a former cowshed.

Over the years of its existence New Life has received more than 30 court summonses; priest Viachaslau Hancharenka and lawyer Siarhei Lukanin were repeatedly brought to administrative responsibility. Aiming at drawing public attention to New Life’s problems, in October 2006 its members went on a month hunger-strike. Hunger-strikers substituted one another permanently staying inside the building. A wide public response brought up a change: the authorities had to backwater. New Life was upheld by representatives of democratic forces, countries of the EU bloc, foreign politicians, priests, religious congregations.


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