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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Hope and despair for Russian Lutherans

Russia's new religion law complicates life

"Can you help us?" pleads Serguei Kopylov, pastor of the 25-member Evangelical Lutheran Community of the Resurrected Christ in Moscow. He seeks funds to help rent worship space and for additional outreach ministries.

Kopylov's church is not alone. All Russian Protestant and Roman Catholic churches are subject to the law restricting religious freedom passed in 1997. All faiths except Orthodox, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism are classified as "groups" that must re-register annually with the government for 15 years before they're eligible for full official recognition. Groups that can prove they've been a registered body for 15 years need not re-register.


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