Category Archives: Persecution

RELIGION IN NORTH KOREA

NKOREA-POLITICS-KIM
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un with Young Pioneers (communist youth group that indoctrinates children under age 15 in communist ideology) #northkoreanchristians

North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is the most repressive nation in the world, for Christians. The country is ruled by the Stalinist dictator, Kim Jong-un, and the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

Catholicism was first introduced to Korea in the 17th century. The first protestant (Presbyterian) missionaries arrived in the late 19th century. Today, 30% of South Koreans are Christian. What are the circumstances for Christians in North Korea today?

Communist regimes are founded upon the philosophy of “scientific atheism.” In North Korea, Christianity is not only seen as the “opiate of the people”; but Christianity is also viewed as alien and evil.

North Korean Christians hide their faith, to avoid arrest and being sent to labor camp. One’s faith is a closely guarded secret, even within families. Parents do not train their children in the Christian faith, to safeguard their families, if the children are questioned. Constant surveillance by the secret police, and their informants, means that many Christians pray with eyes open. Gathering for worship or fellowship is virtually impossible.

Worship of the communist dictators is required of all citizens. Those who do not comply are arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or killed. It is reported that entire Christian families are imprisoned in strict-regime labor camps, where uncounted masses die from torture, beatings, overexertion, and starvation. Those who attempt to flee North Korea risk execution or life imprisonment. It is estimated that 50,000 Christians are currently being held in North Korean gulags (labor camps). Since 1953, it is believed that at least 200,000 Christians have been killed. It has been documented that believers have been: hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges, and trampled underfoot.

North Korea permits only five official Christian churches to function, all located in the Capital, Pyongyang: three Protestant, one Catholic, and one Orthodox. Any show of “religious freedom” is extremely limited, aimed at visitors and foreigners, for propaganda purposes.

It is estimated that 300,000 “secret” Christians remain in North Korea. However, before Communist China opened to the West in the early 1970s, Western experts assumed Christianity had been eliminated by communist repression of religion. Instead, the number of Chinese Christians had grown by leaps and bounds under persecution. Today in China, there are more Christians than members of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Please remember North Korea in your prayers. Let us pray that God would give strength and encouragement to North Korean Christians, and that the waves of persecution would recede. Let us also pray for the whole nation, which has suffered terribly under Stalinist dictatorship for 70 years. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. And the Bible also tells us to pray for rulers and those in authority – not just our own leaders, but those of other lands. Let us pray for a peaceful solution to the tensions with North Korea. There is a wonderful example of this: beginning in 1982, Christians worldwide began to pray for the Iron Curtain to be miraculously brought down. That prayer was answered, and the Cold War peacefully resolved in 1989.

About the Author:  Daniel Molyneux made his first trip behind the Iron Curtain in 1983, to aid Christians suffering under communist rule. He subsequently made numerous trips to Russia and the Soviet Republics during: communist rule, the transition, and afterwards. Molyneux is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, in Fairfield, California, and is the author of three books.

WHAT IS THE BESTSELLING BOOK IN RUSSIA?

Trivia time… What is the bestselling book in Russia since the fall of Communism (besides the Bible)?

We went to Doma Knegy (House of Books bookstore) last week. I bought a book that looked interesting. Turns out it is the bestselling book in Russia since the fall of communism. First Published in 2011, within a year the book had sold more than 1 million hard copies and several million e-book copies.

Everyday Saints and Other Stories by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) is the bestselling book in Russia since communism’s fall.

Everyday Saints is a 500 page book written by a Russian Orthodox monk (Archimandrite Tikhon), telling about his conversion to faith in Soviet Russia during the early 1980s while attending film school, his subsequent experiences as a Monk in the Pskov Caves Monastery, and the stores of various monks in the monastery.

It is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it.

Can you imagine a Christian book being the equivalent of “Harry Potter” in the Russian publishing world? This is truly AMAZING.

If you want to learn more about the persecutions of Christians during the Communist era, and about Orthodox spirituality, this is the book for you. It is available in an English translation from Amazon, etc. All proceeds go to build a church in memory of the millions of Christian martyrs killed during Soviet rule.

Daniel Molyneux

Daniel Molyneux’s website: www.angelofa.com

The Angel of Antioch on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Angel-Antioch-Daniel-Molyneux/dp/0692349634

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Everyday Saints

CHURCHES IN SAINT PETERSBURG By Daniel Molyneux

Photos of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, in Saint Petersburg, taken from our hotel room window.

The story of Kazan Cathedral, on Nevsky Prospect, across from Doma Knegy (House of Books bookstore), is really amazing. Kazan was closed by the communists after the Russian Revolution. In the 1930s the communists turned Kazan into the Museum of Atheism. But Kazan was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1990s. It is now the Primary Cathedral for Saint Petersburg, and the seat of the bishop for the Eparchy (diocese) of St. Petersburg.

Almost all churches in the Soviet Union were closed under Stalin in the 1930s, and again under Khruchev in the 1950s. (And virtually all priests and pastors were arrested, tortured, sent to the Gulags and/or killed. It is difficult to estimate how many millions of Christians were killed under the communists.) Even in the late 1980s only 20 churches were allowed to legally function in Saint Petersburg, a city of 5 million people.

Today, the number of functioning churches in Russia has multiplied by 10 fold since the fall of communism; and the number of monasteries has grown from only 1 to many 100s, with more churches and monasteries opening every day.

The most recent estimates are that 75% of all Russians now profess faith. In spite of its many problems and issues, Russia today is one of the most religious countries in the world.

Daniel Molyneux

Daniel Molyneux’s website: www.angelofa.com

The Angel of Antioch on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Angel-Antioch-Daniel-Molyneux/dp/0692349634

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Saint Isaac’s Cathedral Saint Petersburg Russia
Daniel Molyneux, Russia, Rasputin, Saint Petersburg, Saint Isaac's, Kazan
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral at night, Saint Petersburg Russia
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Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg Russia

THE LOVE OF GOD by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The wars of Israel were the only ‘holy wars’ in history… there can be no more wars of faith. The only way to overcome our enemy is by loving him.”

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

“Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy’s hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love. In such love there is not inner discord between the private person and official capacity. In both, we are Disciples of Christ, or we are not Christians at all.”

“The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (from “The Cost of Discipleship)

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

THE PROMISED LAND

In light of the nine Christians killed during Bible Study at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, it brings to mind Rev. Martin Luther King’s last speech, given the night before his assassination, at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters).

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

 

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

Martin Luther King, Daniel Molyneux, Charleston shooting
Rev. Martin Luther King at Mason Temple, the night before his assassination.