KESTON NEWS SERVICE: 11.00, 3 January 2001


RUSSIA: LAST MINUTE RE-REGISTRATION FOR
KOSTROMA PENTECOSTALS

by Mikhail Edelstein, Keston News Service

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´┐Żs 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)


Copyright (c) 2001 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.