Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 01 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Charles de Foucauld
home iconNews
line break icon

Russia fines Catholic for "illegal missionary activity," group says

RED SQUARE

Sergey Bezgodov | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 09/11/20

An illicit hotel room Mass was the basis for first known charge against a Catholic for violating 2016 law.

For the first time, Russia has prosecuted a Catholic leader for “illegal missionary activity.”

Forum 18, a religious freedom monitoring organization, reported that Nikita Glazunov was fined 5,000 rubles (about $67) by a court in Kazan in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. Glazunov, a member of a traditionalist Catholic religious group, the Society of St. Pius X, was charged for organizing a Latin Mass in a hotel conference hall. According to the charge, he invited a “foreign preacher” to celebrate the Mass, but the priest did not have written authorization to perform missionary activity. A witness testified that the preacher had “spoken of the truth of Catholicism in comparison with Orthodox Christianity, and that, after the religious service, [the defendant and another person] approached him and invited him to take printed materials to familiarize himself with their religious views.”

The Society of St. Pius X is in an irregular relationship with the Vatican.

Glazunov appealed his conviction on June 5, but was unsuccessful.

His case was one of 42 actions against “illegal missionary activity” that Forum 18 identified in the first six months of 2020. The charges are based on a law passed in 2016. Most of the cases involved individuals, but two were charges against organizations. Most cases ended in convictions and fines, though in two cases, foreigners were ordered deported.

Over the past year and a half, Forum 18 has seen an increased number of prosecutions for Muslim religious activity, and now, the first case against a Catholic, as well as the first case against a Methodist.

The organization listed known cases in Russia proper but mentioned that Russia also has enforced its anti-missionary legislation in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

In 2019, a Russian court convicted six Jehovah’s Witnesses of extremism, sending to them to jail for as much as three and a half years.

In the current crop, an American citizen, Raymond Curran, was convicted by a court in Tambov after police found that he was leading services of the unregistered Calvary Chapel Protestant church in a house of culture, accessible to all and without written authorization from a religious organization or evidence of its registration.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will conduct a hearing on September 16 about what it calls “the alarming state of religious freedom in the Russian Federation and Central Asia, and recommendations on how the United States should respond.”

“Russia and various Central Asian countries have undermined religious freedom since the late 1990s, when many former Soviet states adopted repressive religion laws that drew upon past precedent,” says an announcement on USCIRF’s website. “Officials across the region strictly monitor and regulate religious practice, including placing surveillance cameras in places of worship and keeping official databases with detailed personal information of community members. Regional governments actively suppress religious minorities through the denial of legal registration and the use of vague and expansive extremism laws that effectively criminalize any speech or religious practice of which they disapprove. Russia’s exportation of repressive practices to neighboring Ukraine has been particularly egregious, and it has made mandatory religious regulation and vague extremism laws significant weapons in the subjugation of occupied Crimea.”

Tags:
Religious FreedomRussia
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.