Belarus: Fined for River Baptisms, Fined for Pool Baptisms

Source: Forum 18, August 5, 2022

On July 28, a court in the southeastern city of Gomel fined Protestant pastor Dmitry Podlobko [of Living Faith Church] two weeks’ average wage for holding outdoor baptisms earlier in July in a pool on family-owned property without seeking official approval. This is his second fine within a year to punish him for conducting baptisms.

Captain Vasili Kravtsov, head of Gomel District Police which prepared the case against Pastor Podlobko, insisted that he had violated the law. “Before conducting any religious rituals you need to ask permission from the local Executive Committee,” he told Forum 18. “He didn’t have such permission. This is the law and I am obliged to carry it out.”

If a religious community repeats a violation within a year, the regime’s senior religious affairs official, Plenipotentiary for Religious and Ethnic Affairs Aleksandr Rumak, can apply to the court for the religious community to be stripped of its legal status (and thus its right to exist).

Organizers of public events (including religious events) need to get approval from local Executive Committees [and pay significant fees] if they plan to hold them anywhere apart from places approved by local authorities.

Read the full article and pray for this church and others.

Looking for more encouraging news from Europe? Read about diaspora churches in Sweden—including at least 40 planted by Nigerians (European Evangelical Alliance).

See also an article about ministries in Ukraine collaborating as response efforts shift focus (Christianity Today).

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