I. Chernyakhovsk Authorities Block Adventist Food Donations (8 June)
Warned about the �destructive influence of sects� school authorities no longer receive food for their students - one of whom recently ate a bar of soap out of hunger.
II. Autonomous Orthdox Church Battles for its Rights (8 June)
Close relations between Moscow�s mayor and Patriarch Aleksi make buying poperty more difficult for the Autonomous Orthodox.
III. Parliamentary Deputy Tries to Ban Jehovah�s Witnesses in Georgia (1 June)
After customs seized a shipment of 20 million Jehovah�s Witness tracts, parliamentary deputy filed a suit against them for �anti-national and anti-Orthodox activities�.
IV. Ukrainian Concern in Aftermath of Attack on Patriarch (1 June)
Beaten, his car wrecked and the cross pulled down from the site of the future cathedral, Patriarch Filatret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate encountered further hostility from the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate. Concerns focus around the failure of state officials to remain neutral in the long-running intra-Orthodox dispute, the failure of the police to protect the victims of such clashes and the failure of at least some members of the UOC -Moscow Patriarchate to abide by agreements with other Churches to avoid violence.
V. CORRECTION to Press Release about Jesuits being denied reregistration as a religious organisation. Their conditions to exist legally as only a �religious group� may affect hundreds of other churches as we approach the December 1999 deadline for reregistration. (See full text below)
An April press release from Keston Institute's Oxford office stated
that the Jesuits had been denied the right to function in Russia.
This was too broadly stated. In fact the denial of registration does
leave the Jesuits the right to exist - just barely. It will leave
them with no legal rights other than those of a so-called 'religious
group' - the least favoured category of religious body under the
highly discriminatory 1997 law on religion - once that law takes full
effect in January 2000. As a 'religious group' the Jesuits will have
no guaranteed right to engage in charitable activities; to receive,
possess, or disseminate printed, audio or visual materials; to found
newspapers, journals, radio stations or other mass-media organs; to
found schools, universities, seminaries or other educational
institutions; to own or rent buildings; to enjoy tax privileges; to
seek conscientious objection from military service for their younger
members; to invite foreign citizens as visiting preachers or
lecturers; to conduct religious activities in hospitals, orphanages,
or prisons; or even to have a bank account. If the 1997 law is
enforced as written, the denial of registration means that the
Jesuits will be reduced to a collection of private individuals who
can do little more than meet for prayer and conversation in each
other's private homes.
So far the 1997 law has usually been implemented in a manner
considerably more lenient than its extremely harsh written text; for
example, the unregistered 'initsiativniki' Baptists have usually been
able to circulate their publications without hindrance. But the
law's text still has full legal authority, leaving both local and
national officials with complete discretion to start enforcing it
strictly at any moment. (END)