Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Moldova expels four priests and a nun in religious persecution

Expand Messages
  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.tiraspoltimes.com/node/1531 Tiraspol Times frontpage Moldova expels four priests and a nun in religious persecution Four priests and a nun have been
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      http://www.tiraspoltimes.com/node/1531

      Tiraspol Times frontpage

      Moldova expels four priests and a nun in religious persecution

      Four priests and a nun have been expelled from Moldova in the
      country's latest crackdown against religious freedom. The leader of
      the Bessarabian Orthodox Metropolitanate lodged a protest with the
      Council of Europe. He said that secret police intimidated priests to
      get them to renounce their faith and switch churches.

      By Times staff, 14/Jan/2008

      CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - The Associated Press reported that the
      leader of a Moldovan Orthodox Church accused authorities on Friday of
      harassing priests and believers. The criticism came after four
      priests and a nun were expelled from Moldova and banned from returning.

      The accusations of religious persecution were made by Bishop Petru
      Paduraru, head of the Bessarabian Metropolitan, one of Moldova's top
      Orthodox Churches, to which 20 percent of Moldova's Orthodox believers belong.

      He made his accusations public in a letter sent to both the Council
      of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In
      it, he detailed what he said were abuses committed by authorities in
      an effort to make priests leave the church.

      " - Starting in December, most of the priests were visited at home or
      in their churches by police and secret police," Paduraru wrote,
      adding that they were interrogated about their choice of religion.

      " - In some cases authorities have told priests that if they leave
      the church they will have real (material) benefits," Paduraru said in
      his letter.

      Religious freedom only protected in Pridnestrovie

      Human rights activist and lawyer Ion Manole, who heads the
      Chisinau-based group Promo-Lex, said that the authorities planned
      their action at a time when it would be hidden from the media.
      " - It is clear to everyone that there is an instruction from above,"
      he told news service Forum 18. "This was specially done close to the
      Christmas holiday when non-governmental organisations and the media
      are not working. They chose this period deliberately."

      Believers have also been questioned by police on streets and in town
      halls about why they belong to the church, the Associated Press reported.

      Religious freedom is increasingly under threat in Moldova, led by
      strongman Vladimir Voronin who last year publicly declared that Jesus
      Christ was a Communist. Moldova has arbitrarily denied registration,
      and hence legal status, to religious communities the authorities
      dislike. Without legal status, religious communities cannot carry out
      a wide range of peaceful religious activities. This has led to two
      large fines being imposed on the country by the European Court of
      Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

      Believers say that religious freedom today only persist in
      Pridnestrovie (also known as Transdniester, in English), a new and
      emerging country located between Moldova and Ukraine. Unlike Moldova,
      Pridnestrovie is inhabited by a mainly Russian-speaking Slavic majority.

      Its constitution guarantees religious freedom. Pridnestrovie does not
      follow Moldova's practice of denying registration to religions that
      it does not like. As a result, there are now a total of 114 religious
      groups legally registered in Pridnestrovie, which is five times as
      many as in Moldova. (With information from AP, Forum 18)
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.