Pray for Ukrainian Christians

As Russia invades Ukraine, Christians are praying for peace and preparing for persecution that may come.

Christians in Ukraine gathered each night leading up to Russia’s attack and prayed near St. Andrew’s Hill, where according to tradition, the Apostle Andrew first brought the gospel to the region.

Over 500 Evangelicals were elected to all levels of government in Ukraine in 2020. Now Evangelicals are looking at Russia’s treatment of believers as a foreshadowing.

Russia bans sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere other than church buildings, and restricts unregistered church activity. Its anti-evangelism law covers nearly all religions other than the Russian Orthodox Church.

Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Protestants have been prosecuted for meeting together to sing, read the Bible, or telling others about a church gathering.

In Donbas, renamed Donetsk and Luhansk since Russia’s control, churches other than Russian Orthodox are harassed and fined.

Many churches are illegal. Much Christian literature is banned. Church buildings have been seized.

Churches recognized under Ukraine must re-register under Russia’s control. Yet a majority have been unable to because of Russian legal requirements.

Without re-registration, religious groups are unable to hold services even in homes. Pastors without official permission are threatened to stop meeting for worship or risk charges of extremism.

New religious groups must give details to authorities of their function, location, administration, and the names and home addresses of its members.

Christian leaders in one church were accused by authorities of telling people gathered in their church (which included two women who had been invited that day) “about faith, about God, about hope for another life,” and they “read the Bible and sang songs.”

State security interrogated Baptist pastor Volodymyr Rytikov about distributing “extremist” literature, including the Gospel of John.

In 2019, authorities cut off water, electricity, and gas to unregistered churches, and used one church as a Red Guard district registry office.

Authorities declared Baptists and Pentecostals a security threat, and designated the Baptist Union as a terrorist group, driving the church underground.

In 2021, the European Evangelical Alliance declared Donbas “the area of Europe where the church suffers the most.” Since 2014, about 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict and 2 million displaced.

The U.S. told the UN it has evidence that Russia is compiling lists of Ukrainians to kill or send to camps after a military invasion, which includes religious minorities. They also warned that “Russian forces will likely use lethal measures” on peaceful protests or “perceived resistance”.

Pray for:

  • Ukrainian Christians to be bold in their faith, hope and joy.
  • Christians in the region to be salt and light in the midst of conflict.
  • Wisdom and courage for peacemakers.