East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 3, No. 4, Fall 1995, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

An Appeal for Religious Liberty From the Republic of Udmurtia, Russia

We, the organizers of the interconfessional meeting, leaders of Evangelical churches of the Udmurt Republic and the city of Izhevsk, appeal to the government of the Republic (to the legislative and executive powers), to the public, and to the mass media.

We are very concerned about the growing attitudes of misunderstanding, increased tensions, burgeoning opposition to Evangelical churches, and subjective treatment of events occurring in the life of the church, which are being expressed in the biased opinions of the press, with the aim of influencing the official organs and public opinion.  Contemporary history knows quite well enough examples of similar increased tensions, as in Western Ukraine, Central Asia, Ulster, and Yugoslavia, which lead to grave consequences and a worsening of stability in society.

The Evangelical movement in Udmurtia began at the end of the nineteenth century, and despite several difficult periods of tension and persecution, is at the present time expressing its rights for the existence of an adequate number of churches.  The Evangelical movement in Udmurtia is represented by 21 officially registered churches and three in the process of registration, with approximately 7,000 full members and more than 50,000 parishioners.

We consider it necessary to declare that Evangelical churches have nothing in common with such totalitarian sects and movements as "Aum Sinrekyo," "Jehovah's Witnesses," "The White Brotherhood," "The Our Lady Center," "Moon Society," "Church of the Last Testament," and others similar to them.

In spite of mutual mistakes and several religious misunderstandings on the part of the Orthodox Church, we consider it possible to continue to strive for peace, mutual understanding, and tolerance in accord with the words of the Bible  (Ephesians 4:3-6).

In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation and current legislation, we demand:

Respectfully, Submitted by Sam Herrin, Project Cross; tel:  501-882-3958; e-mail:  ProjectCross@XC.Org.

Editors' Note:  The Udmurt Republic has drafted a law which would ban foreign missionaries from working within the republic, not only Western missionaries, but also Ukrainians and others who are not from the Russian Republic.  Evangelical pastors have lodged a strong protest.

"An Appeal for Religious Liberty From the Republic of Udmurtia, Russia," East-West Church & Ministry Report, 3 (Fall 1995), 7.

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1995 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
ISSN 1069-5664

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