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Churches ordered to stop holding services in Iranian national language

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Churches ordered to stop holding services in Iranian national language

Country/Region: Iran, Middle East and North Africa

Two Tehran churches have been ordered to stop holding services in Farsi on Fridays in an apparent bid to prevent Muslims from hearing the Gospel in their own language.

The pastors of Emmanuel Protestant Church and St Peter Evangelical Church were issued with the order by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security earlier this month and announced it to their congregations on 10 February.

Iranian-Christians-worship-4X3.jpg
Iranian Christians at worship

The order was not applied to Sundays, but Friday is the main weekend-day in Iran, and it is difficult for people to attend church on any other day because of work commitments.

The two churches are among the small number of officially registered churches that principally serve the Armenian and Assyrian communities of Iran. Most of their activities are conducted in the Armenian and Assyrian languages. But Farsi is the language of the Muslim majority in Iran.

Middle East Concern said that the order to stop Farsi services was consistent with the authorities’ policy of restricting Christian activities to these traditional communities. It is illegal to conduct church services and Bible studies in Farsi, which prevents Muslims from hearing the Gospel and converts from Islam from worshipping in their own language.

Individuals targeted

Individual members of the two churches have also been targeted; some have lost their jobs after the authorities put pressure on their employers.

In a separate case, Maasis Mosesian, an elder of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran, was arrested in a raid on his workplace by state security agents on 8 February. No reason has been given for the arrest of the married father of two, whose family have not been allowed to see him.

The Iranian authorities are also continuing their campaign against the country’s growing house church movement. On 8 February, a house church in Shiraz was raided by security officers; they searched the premises, confiscated Bibles and arrested at least seven Christian converts. Their homes were also searched, and items including Gospels, Christian books, CDs, computers, faxes and satellite TV receivers were seized.

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 9 hours ago

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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