Friday, February 1, 2013

Voice of the Martyrs, country to pray for this week: Belarus




Belarus became an independent country in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Although it is officially a republic, it is often called “Europe’s last dictatorship.” Under authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, the government maintains tight control over the country’s citizens, restricting freedoms of speech and the press, peaceful assembly and religion.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Christian 70.5%, Non-Religious 28.1%
Ideology: Communism (remaining influence)
Head of State: President Aleksandr Lukashenko

A 2002 religion law severely curtailed religious freedom, banning unregistered religious activity, meetings with fewer than 20 members and religious activity in private homes. Unapproved churches may not buy or rent property. All religious literature is subject to censorship. The Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches enjoy special status, while other denominations or religious groups have great difficulty operating openly. A number of religious leaders have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, harassment, fines and imprisonment. Nevertheless, the church is growing despite Belarus’s overall declining population. VOM is involved in printing literature for Belarus.

Daily Prayer Requests:
February 1: Religion literature is subject to censorship.  Pray for its effective distribution and for eternal fruit.
February 2: While the population declines overall, the church continues to grow.  Pray for spiritual maturity.
February 3:  Pray for unity between denominations as they continue the work of God's kingdom.
February 4:  Pray for President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

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