Skip to comments.For years, Protestant preachers were allowed to visit prisoners in Russia. Then everything changed.
Posted on 08/22/2018 6:02:35 PM PDT by CondoleezzaProtege
Ten years ago, Vitaly Mokrushin became the pastor of a Mennonite church in the town of Sol-Iletsk, in Russias Orenburg region, leading a small congregation of 20-25 people. The 42-year-old former locomotive mechanic found God in 1996.
In the mid-2000s, he regularly visited the Black Dolphin prison colony. He visited prisoners on a weekly basis for several years, holding services, singing religious hymns, reading sermons, and using the prisons PA system to communicate with inmates who werent allowed to gather in the same room.
Roman Lunkin, a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy, told Meduza that Protestants have actively developed their missions to Russian prisons since the early 1990s, building on ties that emerged in the Soviet era with parishioners from semi-underground churches. (In the 1940s and 1950s, Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists, and others started cropping up in the USSR, and they regularly ended up behind bars.) The percentage of Protestants who have weathered prison, exile, fines, or brushes with the police is very high, which is why sympathy for prisoners is quite vivid in the Protestant world."
Mokrushin also had the chance to meet face-to-face with individual inmates, when they requested it. We arranged a baptism for one of them... I carried on long correspondences with some of the inmates, the pastor recalls. Most often, according to Mokrushin, prisoners serving life sentences wrote about experiencing repentance after his visits... He says the prisons staff was happy with his trips, apparently telling him that the born-again inmates were eager to work and didnt break the rules.
In 2015, the Federal Penitentiary Service decided not to renew its agreement on prison visits with Russias Protestant groups, and Mokrushins trips suddenly stopped. The same thing happened to fellow pastors in other regions across the country.
(Excerpt) Read more at meduza.io ...
The crackdown is hurting their work to rehabilitate ex-convicts work that neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Federal Penitentiary Service bothers to do.
In the past 10 years, Anna Kargapoltseva says shes seen Russian Orthodox priests visit a penitentiary only twice.
The Russian Orthodox Church cares more about protecting their turf than about preaching the gospel. Sad.
Russia doesn’t need heretics tampering with the Gospel.
Looks like the Russian Orthodox Church is repeating the same mistakes it made prior to the Revolution.
Unfortunate. I think prisoners should receive visits from any Christian ministers or ministries who are willing to visit. Suppose you’re a prison guard or official. Would you rather your inmates were influenced Mennonites, or by Islam?
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