Religious freedom is a prerequisite for democracy – US commission

China's catholic dioceses are to respond to the government led campaign of the 'sinicization of religion' with a plan of action.  (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A wealth of research shows that a society’s level of religious freedom is linked to its levels of critical social indicators, such as prosperity, stability and peace, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom told British parliamentarians. Dr. Daniel Mark, chairman of USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan federal . . . Read More

Russia pledges to safeguard future of Christians in Middle East

A mosaic of Jesus pictured as an icon in a church in Homs, was vandalised by Islamic fundamentalists, October 2017. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov, says the peaceful co-existence of different religious groups in the Middle East, and particularly safeguarding the future of Christians, is one of Russia’s policy goals for the region. He was speaking at the third Mediterranean Dialogues summit in Rome on 1 and 2 December, . . . Read More

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?
A new law on “education to patriotism” set to be introduced in Russia on New Year’s Day is a further sign of Russia distancing itself from the West, but is not necessarily a sign of President Vladimir Putin favouring one Church over another, according to an analyst for the Christian . . . Read More

Crimea also affected in first year of Russia’s ‘anti-missionary law’

A cross seen over the construction site of a bridge across the Strait of Kerch linking Crimea to mainland Russia. (Photo by Vladimir Smirnov via Getty Images)
Since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed into law what some commentators referred to as an “anti-missionary bill” in July last year, individuals and groups have been targeted because of their religious affiliation in both Russia and the annexed Crimea. After the annexation in March 2014, religious organisations in Crimea had . . . Read More

Russia: Church reacts as ‘anti-missionary bill’ becomes law

Russia: Church reacts as ‘anti-missionary bill’ becomes law
On 7 July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill referred to by one Christian organisation as an “anti-missionary bill”. The new law, known more commonly as the “Yarovaya” law (the name of one of its authors), which will come into effect on 20 July, was formally introduced . . . Read More

Russian takeover of Crimea leads to inter-Church tensions

Russian takeover of Crimea leads to inter-Church tensions
Reports of violence and intimidation by pro-Russian groups against non-Russian Orthodox Christians in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are beginning to emerge. According to Ukraine’s Liga News website, on June 1, a group of armed men in traditional Cossack clothes attacked the Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate (the UOC-KP) . . . Read More