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New Life Church faces liquidation in Minks, Belarus

For more than 18 years, the New Life Church has been struggling with persistent intimidation from government officials.

Christians from Minks converted a cowshed into a place of worship for the congregation of 600 members back in 2002. Since then, the government has been continuously harassing them. 

They denied the Christians’ use of the building and dismissed their further requests to rent another location. Believers carried on meeting in the church building; however, since it was not an approved facility, officials revoked their registration. The doors of the church were finally sealed in February 2021. Despite all these issues, the congregation came together for worship every Sunday in the parking lot until their outdoor gatherings were also banned, and the pastors received fines.

After years of court disputes, the sanctuary was destroyed in June 2023. An inquiry to assess the church’s legal status started on the 6th of October, and a second date has been set for the 17th of October. There is a real danger that the official registration will be revoked and all church activities will be considered illegal. Anyone involved may face up to two years in prison.

Authorities claim that the church had failed to re-register by 2004, in accordance with revisions to the religion law established in 2002. They also declare that courts can eliminate institutions that run “propaganda of war or extremist activities”, which they claim can be found on the church’s website and social media accounts. The church responded that their application had been rejected because of the ongoing dispute over the building and said their activities were not extremist. 

Christian communities have been facing numerous new restrictions and conditions on registration for places of worship, along with increased powers of censorship and monitoring by the government.


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