Iranian church closed down, cross torn down

Please pray! The church in Iran continues to suffer. Advocacy organization, Article 18 recently reported that an Assyrian church in northwestern Iran has been closed down and the cross removed from its tower.

A “large number” of agents from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and EIKO, an organization presided over by the Supreme Leader, reportedly stormed the 100-year-old-church on May 9th, changed all the locks, tore down the cross and ordered the church warden to leave.

The authorities made it very clear that the Assyrian people are no longer allowed to hold any worship service there. It has been known that church members have been fearful since Christmas, when pastors from other churches were prevented from visiting for a joint service with other Assyrian and Armenian Christians.

In Iran, members of the historically Christian Assyrian and Armenian communities are a recognized religious minority, whose freedom of religion is protected by national law. However, churches that have attracted Muslim-born Iranians by holding services in the Persian language have been forced to close, or to at least stop those services and hold them only in their respective native languages.

Church members who are found to have evangelized to Muslims, such as the Assyrian pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, have been charged with “actions against national security” and handed long prison sentences. There are many Christians imprisoned for their faith in Iran.

With the help of our advocacy partners, Article 18, we are able to deliver letters of encouragement to some of these imprisoned Christians. You can find out more here.

 

Please pray:

For Iran to respect, protect and fulfil the right to freedom of religion or belief of Christians and other religions minorities.

For those who are suffering imprisonment for their faith, for God to comfort them and their families.