Loading
Iranian government arrests Christian pastor, closes church
By Adelaide Mena
Pastor Saeed Abedini and Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani
Pastor Saeed Abedini and Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

.- The pastor of a Pentecostal church in Iran was arrested last week during a religious service, and the church has now been closed by government officials, according to news reports.

“These incidents appear to be an attempt to stop worship services from being conducted in Farsi, the language of the majority of Iranians,” said George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States.

He explained to to BosNewsLife, a Central European Christian news service, that such worship services “are allowed in Armenian, a minority language that most Iranians do not speak or even understand.”

The Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran was closed on May 27 following the arrest of Pastor Robert Asserian during a service held at the church six days earlier. Members of his congregation said they do not know where he is being held.

“Before going to the church, authorities raided Pastor Asserian’s home, where they confiscated a computer and several books,” Wood said.

“Then, they found Pastor Asserian at the church leading the prayer service, immediately arrested him and announced the church’s imminent closure.”

Asserian is the latest in a series of Christian pastors to be arrested and detained in Iran. While Iranian law offers some protections for Chaldean Catholic and Armenian Christians, it does not recognize or protect members of Protestant Christian groups or other kinds of Catholic Christians.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, a United States citizen, was arrested in September 2012 and received an eight-year sentence in Iran’s Evin prison. According to family members, he has been brutally beaten and denied medical care.

In addition, Pastor Behnam Irani is being held in Ghezel Hesar Prison near the capital of Iran, where recent reports indicate that health is deteriorating.

Another Christian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, was imprisoned in Iran for converting away from Islam. He spent three years in prison and received a death sentence before being released amid mounting international pressure.

Religious freedom and human rights groups are now seeking to raise similar awareness and pressure on behalf of the other imprisoned pastors. A petition to the White House has been launched on behalf of Irani, while a social media campaign is underway to support Abedini.

Tags: Persecuted Christians, Iran


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Jul
25

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Gospel
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »

Saint
Date
07/25/14
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28

Homily
Date
07/25/14
07/24/14
07/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: