Christian community – Hardy Presbyterian http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 02:52:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/cropped-icon-32x32.png Christian community – Hardy Presbyterian http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/ 32 32 The Christian community faces the border crisis http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/21/the-christian-community-faces-the-border-crisis/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:32:43 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/21/the-christian-community-faces-the-border-crisis/ OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the country’s border crisis continues to escalate, many Christians, who often focus on caring for those in need, are wondering how to respond. “There is probably no issue more polarized than immigration,” said Steven Eng. “Were [just] reminding people of what the Bible has to say about these issues. For […]]]>

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the country’s border crisis continues to escalate, many Christians, who often focus on caring for those in need, are wondering how to respond.

“There is probably no issue more polarized than immigration,” said Steven Eng. “Were [just] reminding people of what the Bible has to say about these issues.

For several months, cameras across the country captured the chaos of migrants coming to the United States in droves seeking refuge or asylum, but rather in confusion.

According to the United States Customs and Border Protection, a large number of people fleeing to the United States and trying to cross the border are from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Oklahoma Brenda Kirk with the National Immigration Forum told KFOR that she recently led a group of evangelicals to the border to see the crisis for themselves and discuss the importance of advocating with local communities.

She also said that according to the scriptures, the Christian answer is clear.

“Immigrants move all over the world,” said Kirk, who is a consultant and regional organizer for the National Forum on Immigration.

“And the scriptures are very clear that we are responsible for caring for the vulnerable,” she added. “Often when you hear scriptures that refer to the care of the orphan and the widow, what is often omitted when people refer to these scriptures is that it also includes the immigrant or the stranger.”

Kirk took a group of Christian leaders to the border earlier this summer to experience the crisis first hand.

“We hear of illegal immigrants [well] people seeking asylum are not illegal,” Kirk continued.

“According to US law, when someone comes forward seeking asylum, they must apply once they get here. They cannot seek asylum outside the country. They have to present themselves at the border and ask for asylum.

Evangelical Christians gathered in Bethany on Tuesday at Southwestern Christian University to discuss advocacy for migrants on the move said they were looking for common ground.

Steven Eng said he represents the National Association of Evangelicals’ political work and mobilizes advocates nationwide and has associated himself with ministry to the marginalized for 30 years as an ordained pastor with the Evangelical Alliance Church.

“We really focus on areas where we think there is broad bipartisan support. And I think there’s probably no more polarized issue than immigration,” Eng said.

“[We’re] reminding people what the Bible has to say about these issues [and] there is probably a lot more consensus than what we see in the media,” he continued.

“People who are immigrants are not liabilities or pawns to the political system, but are truly gifts in themselves. [They’re] people and they are created in the image of God,” he continued, also saying Tuesday evening’s forum would discuss ways for Christians to use Bible-based advocacy to help families and low-income workers, immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable populations.

But the evangelical community is divided on its perspective.

In an email on Tuesday, local pastor and former Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Dan Fisher said “America is a nation of laws”:

“There is a legal process to enter the United States. Any entry in violation of these laws is by definition – illegal. We certainly care about the fate of others, but a country that does not maintain its borders is no country at all. Every American citizen understands this principle. This is why we personally have locks on the doors of our homes, cars, etc. Otherwise, we would most likely be robbed blind. The idea of ​​wide-open borders is nonsense.

Pastor Dan Fisher, co-pastor Fairview Baptist Church, Edmond, OK

Brenda Kirk said she believed it was possible to show Christian compassion while respecting border security.

“We need to have border laws that work well for the security of this country,” she said. “If you believe the Bible [is] directly from God, I don’t see how we couldn’t have compassion.

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community appalled by passage of anti-conversion bill in Karnataka | bangalore http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/17/community-appalled-by-passage-of-anti-conversion-bill-in-karnataka-bangalore/ Sat, 17 Sep 2022 08:11:12 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/17/community-appalled-by-passage-of-anti-conversion-bill-in-karnataka-bangalore/ The “protection of the right to freedom of religion,” which has now become law, has created havoc and discord within the state’s Christian community. JA Kanthraj PRO and Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bangalore said, “The entire Christian community in Karnataka is deeply troubled and deeply saddened by the passage of the ‘Protection of the […]]]>

The “protection of the right to freedom of religion,” which has now become law, has created havoc and discord within the state’s Christian community.

JA Kanthraj PRO and Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bangalore said, “The entire Christian community in Karnataka is deeply troubled and deeply saddened by the passage of the ‘Protection of the Right to Freedom of Religion – 2021”, which is now a law”.

The Community feels betrayed for all its selfless service to society in education, health and social services.

Read also : BJP lawmaker blasts K’taka gov’t over anti-conversion bill, calls it ‘ridiculous’

“The content of the law remains bitter, brutal and abrasive in its nature compared to what was presented as a bill nine months ago and now translated into law,” he added.

Showing his displeasure, he added, “The Metropolitan Archbishop Peter Machado, the Bishops of Karnataka and all Christian leaders, and others who defend the secular fabric of our democratic society will make the decision to find legal recourse and challenge the law as a whole. “.

Earlier, opposition Congress leaders attacked the ruling BJP, saying the legislation was a “political trick” introduced to distract from issues such as unemployment and inflation.

Congress had staged a Legislative Council strike over the passage of the Religious Freedom Protection Bill, 2021, which was passed by the State Legislative Assembly in December this year. last.

Read also : Anti-conversion bill wins approval from Karnataka Legislative Council amid turmoil

“Doing such a thing is not allowed in the Constitution. The biggest conversion in Karnataka is happening in the Lingayat community. humiliate certain (segment of the) population and target a particular community. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right and everyone has it. You cannot prevent someone from converting. As a government, you are there to protect the Constitution and protect the whole society of the people in the society,” Congress MP NA Hassan told ANI.

Another Congressman from Shivajinagar, Rizwan Arshad, also expressed his dismay saying it was a bull brought in to please the RSS.

“This is a political bill, introduced to please their bosses in Sangh Parivar and to distract from the 40% commissions, unemployment, inflation and rising prices and hide their inefficiencies. They will target the Christian community and the churches. This will empower the hooligans who target the churches. This is a sadistic bill and contrary to natural justice. This bill will empower those who target the churches,” a said Arshad.

According to the state government, the bill provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion and the prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, seduction or any other fraudulent means.

The bill passed in both Houses of Karnataka by the BJP government gives the right to anyone to file a complaint against religious conversion, protecting the right to freedom of religion in the state. It proposes a prison sentence of up to ten years for forced religious conversion and the offense is made non-bailable and prosecutable.

Karnataka Minister, CN Ashwath Narayan, however, refuted the Congress allegations.

“This is a constitutional bill. It will bring more clarity. The bill contains provisions that have a clear process so that there is no confusion, hatred, conflict or differences. A real process has been introduced in the Constitution which is forward – Should we allow more problems in society? This is a sensitive issue, and as legislators it is our responsibility to address this issue very firmly” , he told ANI.

According to the new law, in the case of a converted person, his parents, his brother, his sister or any other person related by blood, marriage, adoption or, in any form, associate or colleague can file a complaint for such conversion.

The bill is intended to prohibit illegal conversion of religion, to provide protection to those who have been coerced into converting from one religion to another through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, seduction, promise of marriage or by any fraudulent means and for matters relating thereto or incidental thereto.

“No one shall convert or attempt to convert, directly or otherwise, another person from one religion to another by the use or practice of force, undue influence, coercion, seduction or by any fraudulent means or by any other means or promise of marriage, and no one shall encourage or conspire with such conversion,” the bill says.

Notably, the bill was introduced by the BJP government in the Karnataka Assembly last year, after which it sparked controversy and faced opposition from opposition parties in the state.

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Statement from the African and Caribbean Christian Community of Britain following the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/09/statement-from-the-african-and-caribbean-christian-community-of-britain-following-the-death-of-hrh-queen-elizabeth-ii/ Fri, 09 Sep 2022 11:08:08 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/09/statement-from-the-african-and-caribbean-christian-community-of-britain-following-the-death-of-hrh-queen-elizabeth-ii/ The National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF) sends its deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Britain’s black Christian community has always had the greatest respect for the Queen because of her faith, courage and commitment to service to this nation and the Commonwealth. The Black Christian community will […]]]>

The National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF) sends its deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s black Christian community has always had the greatest respect for the Queen because of her faith, courage and commitment to service to this nation and the Commonwealth.

The Black Christian community will pray for the Royal Family during this difficult time of personal and national grief. We will ask God to comfort and strengthen them as they come to terms with their loss and prepare for the Queen’s funeral.

When HRH Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, she told the nation “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether long or short, shall be devoted to your service”.

Throughout her life, HRH Queen Elizabeth II remained true to this statement and was a champion of the Christian faith which she espoused through her personal testimony and selfless service.

During her reign on the throne, she met 15 elected British prime ministers and hosted heads of state from many countries around the world, including Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, and Nelson Mandela, the first elected president. from South. Africa after his release from prison for campaigning to end apartheid.

The black Christian community in Britain is aware of the difficult history shared between its ancestors and the British monarchy, the effects of which are still with us today; and we look forward to the reign of King Charles III and the accent it will bring to our life together in Britain, in the Caribbean, in Africa and in the world as people all created in the image and the likeness of God.

May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace. God bless the King. May he serve in the spirit of his mother.

Written by: Marcia Dixon

Photo Credit Original: Joel Rouse/ Department of Defense Derivative: nagualdesign,
OGL 3 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3, via Wikimedia Commons

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Christian community representatives meet with Jatehdar Akal Takht amid conversion dispute http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/07/christian-community-representatives-meet-with-jatehdar-akal-takht-amid-conversion-dispute/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 17:09:26 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/07/christian-community-representatives-meet-with-jatehdar-akal-takht-amid-conversion-dispute/ Amid a row over alleged forced conversions in Punjab, representatives of the Christian community met Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh here on Wednesday and discussed the issue. The development came days after the Jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, called on the Sikh community to reflect on the need for […]]]>

Amid a row over alleged forced conversions in Punjab, representatives of the Christian community met Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh here on Wednesday and discussed the issue.

The development came days after the Jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, called on the Sikh community to reflect on the need for an anti-conversion law in Punjab and condemned the “harmful” efforts. deployed in Punjab for religious conversion by “some so-called Christian missionaries”.

Representatives of the Catholic Church of India and the Church of North India as well as leaders of seven other churches participated in Wednesday’s meeting during which the issue related to the “so-called forgeries Christian priests” who engage in religious conversion has been discussed. Representatives of the Christian community have denied having relations with such pastors who would have created a rift between the two communities.

A circular will be issued by the Christian community in which the names of “false pastors” would also be highlighted. Christian leaders have said they are against “false pastors” who claim to possess “miraculous healing powers” because the practice goes against the principles of the Holy Bible.

It was necessary to investigate these practices which created divisions between the two communities, they said. Giani Harpreet Singh said the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere. Bishop Angelina Rif of Jallandhar Diocese, Bishop Samantaroy of Discoes of Amritsar and Bishop Daniel of the People of Chandigarh Dioceses were among the main attendees at the meeting.

The issue of forced conversion has been raised by Sikh religious leaders in recent months. Recently, four masked men broke into Tarn Taran church, vandalized it and fled after setting the pastor’s car on fire.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Bringing Christian community together, despite COVID-19 divisions http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/06/bringing-christian-community-together-despite-covid-19-divisions/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/06/bringing-christian-community-together-despite-covid-19-divisions/ “A Biblical Response to COVID-19” Gives Hope and Understanding of the Pandemic RALEIGH, North Carolina, September 6, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Bishop Harvey Spencer never would have thought he would witness and be part of a pandemic. He was able to participate in other historic events, such as witnessing the nomination of the first black president […]]]>

“A Biblical Response to COVID-19” Gives Hope and Understanding of the Pandemic

RALEIGH, North Carolina, September 6, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Bishop Harvey Spencer never would have thought he would witness and be part of a pandemic. He was able to participate in other historic events, such as witnessing the nomination of the first black president and the first female vice-president of the United States.

In “A Biblical Response to COVID-19,” Bishop Spencer uses his observations and experience, along with the Bible, to help those feeling the divisions of the pandemic. Bishop Spencer first preached on the subject in 2020 and spoke about safety precautions. From his perspective, he was able to observe how people who came to his church felt lost and mentally drained by the events.

“I noticed the division of leaders and how people were struggling with their faith,” Bishop Spencer said. “I want to help those who are confused, because of the pandemic, and help indicate which voice to follow.”

Bishop Spencer has helped the homeless, those on low incomes, and helped those who have faced hardship. He has used his church for programs for ex-offenders and mentoring programs for girls and boys. He also facilitated an open dialogue between the men of the community and the Raleigh Police department.

For those who might read his book, the author’s goal is to save lives and provide a clearer understanding of the global pandemic and his faith. Bishop Harvey wants people to care about others, build character, and learn compassion for others.

“A Biblical Response to COVID-19”
By the bishop Harvey Spencer
ISBN: 9781665719551 (softcover); 9781665719568 (electronic)
Available from Archway Publishing, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Bishop Harvey Spencer founded the Greater Love Church, with the motto “We love you no matter what you are going through.” and founded the non-profit “Love In Action”, both of which are located in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a frequent guest on “Ask the Pastor” and also wrote “The Power of Forgiveness” in 2018. The author received his honorary doctorate in humanitarianism and the Global Humanitarian Award in October 17, 2020. To learn more, please visit http://www.bishophlspencer.com.

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Media Contact

Michelle FlorLAVIDGE, 480 998 2600, mflor@lavidge.com

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Data shows Nigeria’s Christian community suffering from general uptick in attacks http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/04/data-shows-nigerias-christian-community-suffering-from-general-uptick-in-attacks/ Sun, 04 Sep 2022 14:20:18 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/04/data-shows-nigerias-christian-community-suffering-from-general-uptick-in-attacks/ 09/04/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) recently released an explainer on the issue of religion-based violence in Nigeria. Analyzing data collected by its researchers from 2020 to 2022, ACLED found that violence against Christians overtly based on their religious identity increased by 21% from 2020 to […]]]>

09/04/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) recently released an explainer on the issue of religion-based violence in Nigeria. Analyzing data collected by its researchers from 2020 to 2022, ACLED found that violence against Christians overtly based on their religious identity increased by 21% from 2020 to 2021 and another 25% from 2021 to 2022. This represents a slightly faster growth rate compared to overall violence, which only increased by 19% between 2020 and 2021.

ACLED points out that there are a number of flashpoints in addition to religion – ethnic identity, gender, occupation and government affiliation, among others – and that religion is only one. factor among many others. In fact, ACLED claims that only about 5% of violent events targeting civilians target Christians because of their religious identity.

The ICC has analyzed ACLED data on Nigeria dating back to 1997, and its initial findings show that Christians are, indeed, targeted in a relatively small percentage of kidnappings. However, in kidnappings where ACLED data clearly reveals the victim’s religious affiliation, whether Christian or Muslim, the ICC has found that Christians are targeted nearly ten times more often than their Muslim counterparts.

While ACLED limits its analysis to cases of obvious targeting – an attack on a church building, for example – the ICC can dive much deeper given its extensive network of staff and experts at across Nigeria. Although perhaps less obvious to a US research organization, an attack by Muslim extremists on a known Christian village can be as much an attack on religion as an attack on the church building itself and, in some cases, even more damaging.

The ICC will explore this topic further in an upcoming report on Nigerian abductions.

For more information, please contact press@persecution.org.

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Punjab Christian Community Condemns Attacks on Churches, Calls for Peace http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/02/punjab-christian-community-condemns-attacks-on-churches-calls-for-peace/ Fri, 02 Sep 2022 01:24:46 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/09/02/punjab-christian-community-condemns-attacks-on-churches-calls-for-peace/ AMRITSAR: Amid rising cases of attacks on churches and community gatherings, the Christian community in Punjab on Thursday called for strict measures against the perpetrators of such attacks, in addition to seeking appropriate security measures for the community and to appeal for the maintenance of peace and harmony in the country. . The community was […]]]>

AMRITSAR: Amid rising cases of attacks on churches and community gatherings, the Christian community in Punjab on Thursday called for strict measures against the perpetrators of such attacks, in addition to seeking appropriate security measures for the community and to appeal for the maintenance of peace and harmony in the country. .

The community was represented by the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the dioceses of Amritsar and Chandigarh, the Church of North India (CNI), the Salvation Army and the Methodist Church, who gathered under the banner of “Masihi Maha Sabha” and held a meeting at Alexandra High School in Amritsar on Thursday.

The meeting came two days after a group of people from the Tarn Taran district allegedly broke into a local church and vandalized a statue of Jesus and Mary. They also set fire to the pastor’s car.

At the meeting, it was unanimously decided to hold a candlelight prayer service in the respective churches of these denominations on September 3 to pray for peace and harmony.

Community leaders said a confrontation unfortunately occurred due to religious issues. They also called on the Center and state governments to take these attacks seriously, which they called a flagrant violation of the Christian community‘s constitutional right to freedom of religion, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these attacks be brought to justice. .

Speaking about the Tarn Taran incident, Archbishop Agnelo Gracias, Apostolic Administrator of Jalandhar Diocese, said he visited the spot to get an update on the situation.

“We have always created an atmosphere of peace in these neighborhoods, but at the same time we criticize the vandalism of our parish,” he said.

Reverend Danzel People, Bishop of Chandigarh Diocese, urged people to maintain peace and harmony in society.

“The church must take steps to ensure the unity of the Christian community,” he said.

Major Makhan Masih of the Salvation Army and Reverend Ilyas Masih of the Methodist Church also reiterated a similar view.

Reverend PK Samantaroy, Bishop of the Diocese of Amritsar (DoA), who is also the President of the Masihi Maha Sabha, said that the Christian community in Punjab condemns these attacks.

“The Constitution of India allows every Indian to pursue the religion of his choice. These attacks are a clear violation of this constitutional right of Christians, which we strongly condemn. If anyone is caught engaging in any illegal activity, action must be taken in accordance with the law. We urge people not to take justice into their own hands,” he said.

Calling the attacks a clear attempt to divide the people of Punjab, Samantaroy said any divisive voice is dangerous and must be dealt with with an iron fist.

Stating that Indian Christians are a peace-loving community fully devoted to the welfare and development of their nation, he said this is evident from their contributions in different fields including education, health, etc. over the years.

“The church in India is fully dedicated to the cause of nation building. It is the curator of various interfaith social awareness initiatives aimed at tackling social ills that affect most sections of Indian society. We are as Indian as anyone else born and bred in India, regardless of belief, therefore we have the right to profess our faith as freely as any other Indian,” he added. .

Stating that Christianity is not a European religion as believed, Samantaroy said it was brought to India in the first century CE by Saint Thomas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, long before it was introduced to Europe. .

“Jesus Christ taught us to practice love, forgiveness, peace and reconciliation, which promote human dignity, which is why the faith and its adherents should be considered with the honor they deserve,” did he declare.

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The Christian community of Yobe commends Buni for its development efforts http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/31/the-christian-community-of-yobe-commends-buni-for-its-development-efforts/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 21:06:34 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/31/the-christian-community-of-yobe-commends-buni-for-its-development-efforts/ Yobe State Christian Unity Forum Zone ‘B’ on Wednesday paid a solidarity visit to Governor Mai Mala Buni at Damaturu Government House. The organizer of the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Degubi, said the visit was aimed at endorsing the Buni administration for its focus on development. He praised the Buni-led administration for giving equal treatment to […]]]>

Yobe State Christian Unity Forum Zone ‘B’ on Wednesday paid a solidarity visit to Governor Mai Mala Buni at Damaturu Government House.

The organizer of the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Degubi, said the visit was aimed at endorsing the Buni administration for its focus on development.

He praised the Buni-led administration for giving equal treatment to all faiths and ethnic groups in the state.

Various speakers on the occasion praised the governor for expanding road construction, health care delivery, education development, water supply, among others, without resorting to religious, ethnic and political differences. .

Speaking, Christian Pilgrims Coordinator, Mr. Yahaya Koya, said the Governor had appointed him without knowing him.

“The Yobe state government supported our recent visit to Israel. We appreciate Governor Buni’s good efforts and assure our loyalty to your administration,” Koya said.

Governor Buni congratulated the members of the forum for their support and encouragement.

“This visit encourages us to improve our achievements in providing the people of Yobe State with people-oriented projects.

“This administration will continue to be fair and just to all kinds of people regardless of religious and ethnic differences among people,” Buni said.

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Kazakhstan’s Orthodox Christian community grows stronger amid Soviet-era Islam and atheism http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/22/kazakhstans-orthodox-christian-community-grows-stronger-amid-soviet-era-islam-and-atheism/ Mon, 22 Aug 2022 09:41:23 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/22/kazakhstans-orthodox-christian-community-grows-stronger-amid-soviet-era-islam-and-atheism/ Editor’s note: Ahead of the Seventh Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions to be held September 14-15 in Nur-Sultan, The Astana Times has launched a series of articles on the diversity of spiritual life in Kazakhstan. The first concerned Islam. This week, we profile Kazakhstan’s second largest religious group: Orthodox Christians. NOUR-SULTAN – Orthodox […]]]>

Editor’s note: Ahead of the Seventh Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions to be held September 14-15 in Nur-Sultan, The Astana Times has launched a series of articles on the diversity of spiritual life in Kazakhstan. The first concerned Islam. This week, we profile Kazakhstan’s second largest religious group: Orthodox Christians.

NOUR-SULTAN – Orthodox Christians, one of the largest religious communities in the world, existed in Kazakhstan for several hundred years during periods of Islamic rule, Tsarist Russia, the Soviet period and subsequent independence . They continue to live in harmony with other religious communities in Kazakhstan who respect the principle of equality of all nations and religions. In the interview with The Astana Times, Archpriest Dmitriy Baidek, ecclesiarch at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, spoke about the history and holy places of the Christian community, and the importance of the next Congress of World Leaders and Tradition Religions.

Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Nur-Sultan. Photo credit: mitropolia.kz

Independent Kazakhstan Christians

Kazakhstan is home to some 3,834 religious associations from 18 religions and denominations. Among them, Orthodox Christians are the second largest religious group in Kazakhstan after Muslims with 345 registered organizations which is about nine percent, according to the Religious Affairs Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Information and Social Development.

As a secular country, Kazakhstan nevertheless celebrates Orthodox Christmas with Muslim Kurban Ait (Eid al-Adha) as official holidays for all citizens.

Baidek explained that the church has always been open to people. It is “supranational” as Baidek puts it.

Indeed, in the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Colossians, he says “here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all” , emphasizing the unity and equality of all believers in Christ.

Describing the community of Christians in Kazakhstan, Baidek said “the vector is moving away from the exclusively Slavic population towards a more diverse Christian population that includes more ethnicities”.

History of the Orthodox Church in Kazakhstan

The rise of Christian communities amid a predominantly Muslim population is associated with the settlement of Russian Cossacks in the lands of southern Kazakhstan which were annexed to the Russian Empire around the 17th century.

On the territory of modern Kazakhstan, the Russian Cossacks founded the first fortresses and built with them the first Orthodox churches.

Bishop Sophoniya Sokolsky, first bishop of the diocese of Turkestan. Photo credit: pravoslavie.ru

Last year, Orthodox Christians in Kazakhstan celebrated the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese of Turkestan, the first in the region. In 1871, an imperial decree approved the decision to open the diocese of Turkestan, and in the same year Archbishop Sophoniya Sokolsky, known for his active temperament and enthusiasm, was appointed as the first bishop of the diocese of Turkestan.

“In his biography there are words that say he was like a young man running around the diocese preaching, doing works of mercy, opening new churches, even though he was already well over sixty -ten years,” Baidek said. “His energy, his temperament were those of a young man. They were such unique people, and since then Christianity, namely Orthodox Christianity, has grown stronger in these parts of Kazakhstan.

Although the Orthodox Eparchy was established in the 19th century, communities preaching the Holy Trinity have lived on the territory of Kazakhstan for many centuries.

“There are monuments which indicate that there were colonies which professed Christianity in the 9th and 13th centuries. For the most part these were communities venerating Nestorianism, which was rejected by the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, they were people who worshiped the Trinity, Christ and the Holy Spirit,” Archpriest Baidek said.

The Soviet period was a difficult time for representatives of all religions in Kazakhstan, Baidek said, and Orthodox Christians were no exception. Many in the Christian world felt humiliated by a colonial system that undermined their beliefs and religion. “The Bolsheviks certainly used our land in a rather barbaric way. In the 1920s and 30s the Bolsheviks destroyed many churches,” he said.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It was built in 1891 in the central part of the present city of Nur-Sultan between Abay and Bigeldinov streets. In 1930 the cathedral was closed and soon after the building was demolished. Photo credit: kazislam.kz

Kazakhstan has also been a place of exile for many people. Karlag, one of the largest labor camps in the Karagandy region, was filled with people who were at the forefront of some of the great freedom struggles.

Yet even amidst the difficulties, there were people who had not lost their faith in a better future. One of them was Sebastian, the eldest from Karagandy, who had spent six years in the Karlag camp. After his release in 1939, he decided to stay and selflessly preach Christianity in the region, which greatly contributed to the formation of a religious community.

Despite the atheistic agenda of the Soviet era, many Christians were able to preserve their religious traditions. By becoming an independent state, Kazakhstan has given many people the opportunity to freely express their religion.

“Independence brought about the growing interest in religion, intellectual interest. People began to read, reflect and pay attention to matters of spirituality. They wanted to answer the “why” and “for what” questions. This kind of rise at least in Christianity took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, including among the young population,” Baidek said.

Orthodox Christian Sacred Sites in Kazakhstan

What makes a place holy? According to Baidek, people sanctify a place in honor and remembrance of the saints whose blood was shed there.

When, in 1995, Patriarch Alexy II visited the Karagandy region, he called the land of Kazakhstan “the antimines (a piece of silk or linen for the liturgical rite) stretched out in the open” referring to the sanctity of the whole Kazakh land. , where many pastors, monks and lay people were exiled from all parts of the Soviet Union. Many of them ended their lives in Kazakhstan.

Sketch Aksai Seraphim-Feognost. Photo credit: mitropolia.kz

There are many holy places in eastern Kazakhstan, Karagandy and Zhetisu regions. Of particular interest is the Aksai Seraphim-Feognost sketch, which is located on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Park near Almaty at an altitude of 1,850 meters above sea level.

More than 100 years ago, the place was occupied by monks-priests Seraphim Bogoslovsky and Feognost Pivovarov, who gave up a comfortable life to serve God in solitude in the middle of the mountains.

But the two saints could not enjoy their peaceful solitude for long, because in 1921 the soldiers of the Red Army arrived. The monks gratefully received them, fed them and gave them tea, however, the soldiers then brutally murdered the monks the next morning.

In 2000, Seraphim and Feognost were dedicated to the list of saints for general church veneration. Many people visit the sketch every year to honor the martyrs.

The Significance of the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions

As a representative of the Orthodox Church, Archpriest Baidek said that Kazakhstan is setting a good example for the region by declaring its peacekeeping mission through the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that it will host on September 14 and 15.

“The particularity of this congress is that it has been raised to a level where the spiritual leaders and the heads of traditional religions are brought together directly by the state, and therefore the dialogue is conducted at a high level. And any dialogue always serves the good,” Baidek said.

“The human mind is built so that we are afraid of what we don’t know, of what we don’t understand. Our fears, our fantasies, are born of ignorance. When we get to know a person better, they stop scaring us. They may be interesting, they may not be interesting, but they are not scary,” he added, stressing the importance of bringing representatives of various religions together.

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In Your View: The Role of a Christian Community | Opinion http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/05/in-your-view-the-role-of-a-christian-community-opinion/ Fri, 05 Aug 2022 14:57:00 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/08/05/in-your-view-the-role-of-a-christian-community-opinion/ I moved to northeastern Kentucky nearly four years ago to serve as pastor of a local church. My family and I saw firsthand the natural beauty and rich history of Boyd County and the towns that lay within its boundaries. Looking on with encouragement, government leaders are ushering in a renaissance of new ideas to […]]]>

I moved to northeastern Kentucky nearly four years ago to serve as pastor of a local church. My family and I saw firsthand the natural beauty and rich history of Boyd County and the towns that lay within its boundaries. Looking on with encouragement, government leaders are ushering in a renaissance of new ideas to redevelop and revitalize downtown while reimagining dilapidated properties and turning them into glorious gems for generations to enjoy, while adapting to the constraints of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

With all progress comes gradual pushback that tries to hinder or even stop development because it’s not the “right kind” of development that some neighbors would like. Recently, a small but vocal group of faith leaders came together to devise a plan to form a group to stand up against the rise of a “liberal element” that underpins ongoing progress in the city of Ashland. and Boyd County as a whole. They cited horse racing and local businesses supporting the LGBTQ+ community through events as culprits captivating a recessive sinful nature taking hold in society.

As a devout Christian in the Holiness tradition, this smacks of self-righteous attempts to remedy the ills of society by forcing people and businesses to believe one way or another without developing or maintaining relationships with people who don’t act, look or think the way they do.

Having received a classical upbringing in theologically rich environments, I have learned that one should not blame a group of people or companies because my personal religious beliefs do not match theirs. Instead, I’ve learned to engage people through conversations, a listening ear, and sometimes respectful disagreements, but not protesting or enacting division through actions that harm others, causing someone to ask: where is Jesus? Is he with a group of Christian protesters or sinners?

There is no doubt that the spiritual health of our churches and community is being tested, but instead of plotting, Christians should pray. Instead of dividing the community and trying to drive business out, shouldn’t the Christian community be praying for our government leaders, supporting the local businesses we value, and restoring health to our local churches? Christ’s example was for us to pray for divine wisdom, a loving heart, and actions that speak louder than words.

Reverend Dr. Desmond Barrett

Ashland

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