RUSSIA: Last Minute Re-Registration for Kostroma Pentecostals

by Mikhail Edelstein, Keston News Service, 3 January 2001

Two Pentecostal churches in Kostroma region north east of Moscow that experienced attempts to liquidate them in court last year were re-registered by the regional justice administration just two days ahead of December’s re-registration deadline. The justice administration had itself brought the unsuccessful liquidation suit against the Kostroma Christian Centre and the Grace Church last summer, but the suit was rejected in November, with the court ordering the justice administration to re-register the two churches within one month (see KNS 21 November 2000).

In refusing registration to both churches in May 2000, the justice administration cited the conclusion of local experts that the pastors had used hypnosis during services. The administration then initiated the suits to liquidate the churches. After several hearings and much foot-dragging, the suits were dismissed in court in mid-November. In the wake of the court ruling, the pastors of both churches again submitted re-registration applications.

On 29 December, officials of the justice administration informed Pastor Andrei Danilov of the Kostroma Christian Centre and Pastor Andrei Mudry of the Grace Church that both churches had been re-registered. The same day, Pastor Danilov told Keston News Service that he was completely satisfied now the justice administration had re-registered his church. He also reported that the Kostroma Christian Centre has now been renamed the Family of God, while the Grace Church has become the Grace of Christ Church.

Nina Kolupayeva, the deputy head of the regional justice administration who had represented the administration during the court cases, told Keston on 29 December that, as expected, the justice administration did not intend to appeal against the November court rulings. She stressed that the re-registration of both churches took place in the shortest time and without problem. She added that at present the justice administration has no complaints against the two churches. (END)