Since rebels in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine declared independence in 2014, the self-declared government has oppressed religious groups in various ways. As part of their efforts to control the churches, the Luhansk State Security Ministry announced a complete ban on one Baptist denomination for not submitting to compulsory registration. For more information, click here.
On August 20th, the ministry announced a deadline of October 15th for all church groups to re-register or be declared illegal which entails the closure and seizure of their properties. In compliance, numerous religious communities filed the necessary papers for the re-registration and awaited news. As of the deadline, however, no Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, or Pentecostal community has been granted registration and many were denied. Catholic churches have not yet heard the results of their applications.
To avoid property seizure, Adventist communities have discontinued activities after their applications were all rejected. Other churches have continued to meet despite the imminent threat of closure. Some religious groups chose to not attempt the registration, believing it was futile under the current political environment. Continue to pray for Christians in Luhansk as they face these ongoing threats.