KESTON NEWS SERVICE - SUMMARY
Issue 3, Articles 21-27
24 March 2000

Summaries of recent reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion
in communist and post-communist lands.

NEW from KNS. This Summary service goes only to those who subscribe to
Keston News Service. We will be sending it weekly. Only articles which have
been published earlier in the week will appear. We hope this service is useful to
you as we have greatly increased our reporting in the last three months and
realise not everyone may have time to read all the articles.
______________________________________

TODAY SIXTH BAPTIST FAMILY TO BE DEPORTED FROM
TURKMENISTAN (23 March). Given 24 hours notice, Vitali Tereshin and his
family are next in line for expulsion from the town of Dashkhovuz to Russia.
Turkmen officials have openly declared that they will deport all foreign
Baptists and will then �strangle� the remaining local Baptists.

SERBIAN ORTHODOX CYBER MONK CALLS ON CHURCH LEADERS
AND POLITICIANS TO �SPEAK THE TRUTH� (22 March). �Violence
cannot be cured by violence� Fr Sava told Keston. He explained the readiness
of Serbian Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims to work together in continuing his
Bishop�s work speaking out against the atrocities committed by the Milosevic
regime as well as by Albanian extremists. 80 monasteries and churches have
been desecrated or destroyed since 50,000 peace-keepers arrived in Kosovo
June 1999. He included an explanation of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook�s
remarks in a private interview with him earlier Tuesday.


RUSSIAN PRESIDENT TO SIGN REREGISTRATION EXTENSION BILL
NEXT WEEK? (17 March). Automoatic approval by the Federation Council
landed the bill on Putin�s desk with a 27 March deadline.

RUSSIA: COURT HEARING FOR SECOND VORONEZH RELIGIOUS
COMMUNITY SLATED FOR LIQUIDATION (20 March). As of 15 March,
the case to liquidate the regional headquarters of the Union of Evangelical
Christians-Baptists (UEC-B) has been postponed until 23 March. Both the
judge and the regional department of justice proved unaware of the Duma�s
amendment to the law on religion which would extend the reregistration
deadline - the very reason for the liquidation case. The department had also
submitted outdated documents about the UEC-B�s registration. At the same
time the UEC-B has submitted registration documents as newly-established
religious organisation for its headquarters and four churches - all up for
liquidation. It seems to be an attempt to bypass the registration deadline
limitations.


BUILDINGS AND WOMEN IN THE CRIMEAN LUTHERAN CHURCH
WILL HAVE TO WAIT 17 March. According to Lutheran pastor Lesnoy not
one building has been returned to the Lutheran Church�s ownership. The few
pre-Revolution churches they have recovered are �for use only�. Although the
congregation requested its return in 1992 and were registered in 1994, the
Simferopol parish still meets in a cultural centre next door; the church was
leased to a construction company in 1997 but is left empty. Russian
nationalism and the government�s close relationship with the Russian Orthodox
Church are reasons Lesnoy gives for the attitude toward national minorities.
Ordination of women must be decided by the Synod, but is only being
discussed at the parish level now.

ARMENIAN CHURCH DENIES SEEKING SPECIAL STATUS (22 March).
The
recently signed Memorandum between the Armenian Apostolic Church and
Armenian government is intended to regularise relations dealing with property
restitution, education, army chaplains, and tax concessions, but not alter the
law on religion, according to church spokesmen. Minority churches reserve
judgment and await developments.

RUSSIA: LIPETSK AUTHORITIES REFUSE TO REGISTER JEHOVAH'S
WITNESSES (22 March). A state-appointed expert alleged in court that
�foreign
intelligence services� played a �leading role� in the organisation of the
Jehovah�s Witnesses activity. Other experts stated that their practice of door-to-
door evangelism violated the law on religion.

Copyright (c) 2000 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.