Russia Is Torturing and Targeting Ukrainian Christians, Leaders Tell Speaker Johnson

Ukrainian Christian leaders have co-signed a letter asking US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson to “consider the plight” of believers in the country who are being persecuted and targeted by Russian soldiers.

The letter to Johnson was co-signed by Valery Antoniu, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Union, and Yaroslav Pidzhi, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary. The document was also signed by Dan Darling, director of the Rand Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Rand, former chairman of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

“The Russian government’s decision to invade Ukraine and target Ukrainian Baptists and other evangelical Christians has become a tragic feature of the war,” the letter said, according to the paper. baptist press.

The letter said Russia had tortured “faithful Christians in the occupied territories of Ukraine,” destroyed churches and removed pastors who were not “pro-Russian.”

Religious freedom advocates say hundreds of churches have been destroyed.

“Despite Russia’s efforts to portray Ukraine as intolerant of Christians, it is actively harming peaceful law-abiding faithful Christians in the occupied territories of Ukraine. is the Russian government,” the letter states. To tell.

“We humbly ask Mr Johnson to consider the plight of Christians as he considers his efforts to assist Ukraine,” the newspaper said.

recent baptist press caught the spotlight A Ukrainian Baptist pastor suffered at the hands of Russian soldiers. Pastor Azat said he was beaten so badly by his soldiers that he lost his teeth and suffered damage to his internal organs.

Russian soldiers captured a man as he was delivering humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“A bag was placed over my head and my hands were handcuffed to my legs. Electric wires were connected to my genitals. They beat me with batons, iron pipes and wooden sticks.” said Azat. “They laughed at me and asked me why by becoming a Baptist I had become a traitor to the faith of my father and grandfather. I am a Baptist, but to the Russians, Baptists are American spies. They calls us “foreign agents.”

The soldiers asked Azat who he was serving.

“I said to them, “I serve God,” but they tortured me further and asked me which God I served. To this I said, “Holy Trinity. “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Well, when they heard this they laughed and beat me so badly that they thought I was dead. ”

Image credit: ©Getty Images/Alexey Furman/Stringer

Michael Faust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His story was published in Baptist Press. Christianity Today, Christian Poecent, of leaf chronicle, of toronto star and of knoxville news sentinel.