Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Eritrea detains 15 monks

antoniosThe Dutch office of Open Doors is reporting that 15 Eritrean Orthodox monks have been arrested because of their plans to publicize the Eritrean government’s interference in the affairs of their church. In particular the monks oppose the replacement of the Orthodox Patriarch “Abune” Antonios by the government with their own designated official. According to Orthodox tradition, the patriarch can only be replaced for “immoral” activities. 

Open Doors spokesman Klaas Muurling said, "The arrests of monks are remarkable as they are part of the Eritrean Orthodox Church which has been officially recognized by the government. Since 2002 only Islam, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran church have been permitted in the country.  Persecution mainly focused on Christians outside these churches. It are especially Christians who want carry out their beliefs actively who are arrested.”

The whereabouts and identities and the present circumstances of the fifteen monks are unknown. In Eritrea at present, at least 2,800 Christians are locked up in prisons, underground cells, shipping containers, military concentration camps and labour camps. The circumstances in which they find themselves are can be only be described as pitiful.

Please remember these men in your prayers. We encourage you to post a prayer on their behalf on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

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