Tag Archives: independent Baptist church

33 – Feb. 02 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


They were given four days to prepare for trial
 The trial of Veniamin Markevich, the pastor of the independent Baptist church in Ordzhonikidze, Russia took began Jan. 24, 1983 and ended on Feb. 2nd.  The other two pastors on trial with him were Veniamin Chistyakov, and Vasily Mikhin.  They were given four days to prepare for trial.  The testimony of witnesses made it clear why the KGB had to silence them.  One teacher said, “Our school has a great atheistic program, but because of the activities of the defendants, practically nothing comes from it.”  Of course as these cases went in the past, the outcome was already determined and the sentences pre-set, and the elderly judge ready to rubber stamp the verdict.  Politically, an important change had just taken place in Russia.  Leonid Brezhnev, leader for 18 years had just died, and the central committee had just appointed Yuri Andropov as General Secretary.  He had been the head of the KGB, and in speeches had lashed out at the Western powers, and he had called for a stronger show of force and this was a part of this effort internally.  Pastor Mikhin received three years, Pastor Chistyakov four, and Pastor Markevich received five.  It took one-hundred days to transport Pastor Markevich from the Caucasus to Yakutia in Siberia.  Somehow his wife was able to find his location and traveled 600 miles to see him.  She was allowed thirty minutes with him.  However their families learned to trust God and continue with their lives under these trying circumstances.  He learned that his daughter was to wed Pastor Chistyakov’s son.  He was moved from time to time to different prisons, but by the grace of God he was released eight months early in Feb. 1987.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 67-68.

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13 – Jan. 13 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


[they] had to meet outdoors in a city park.
 n Jan. 13, 2004, a church building of an independent Baptist church, in Tula, Russia was blown up.  Authorities said that it was due to faulty equipment within the building.   But in a January report by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, witnesses testified to having seen a group of men around the building and the sound of breaking glass just before the explosion.  The Baptists also established that the gas pipes were not damaged.  The pastor had also received anonymous threats.  City inspectors have ruled that the building is beyond repair.  After the iron curtain came down in 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church took over from the Communist Party and reestablished their influence in religious affairs in Russia.  Even though they are not as brutal in their persecution as the communists had been, they still do not hesitate in their persecution of Baptists and other non-conformists.  With the crumbling of the USSR, Russia adopted a constitution allowing religious toleration but not real religious liberty.  In 1997 a more strict law was passed that required churches to have existed for fifteen years before being permitted to register.  The Sept. 2003 Moscow Times reported that one non-registered Baptist church was refused permission to rent any public buildings and had to meet outdoors in a city park.  This requirement for registration was amended to allow for a re-registration for groups who were registered prior to the implementation of the 1997 law, but this, of course, gave no relief to independent Baptist congregations.  Christian leaders have noticed an increasing intolerance  toward non-Orthodox believers.  New visas and visa renewals have been regularly denied for foreign religious workers.  Much prayer for Russia needs to be added to our prayer lists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 26-28.

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