In 2013, more than 80 Archons and Greek Orthodox faithful journeyed to Havana, Cuba for a 6-day pilgrimage to visit Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The pilgrimage was sponsored by the Order of St Andrew and led by its spiritual advisor, Father Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The trip culminated in a celebration of the Feast of Saint Nicholas and took place under the auspices of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras.
The trip was remarkable in the context of modern Cuba, where, as is clear from this article, Christians still face persecution. The Order prays and hopes that the spirit of generosity and openness that characterized the Cuban government’s stance during the pilgrimage will prevail, leading to full rights and religious freedom for the Orthodox Christians and all the Christians of Cuba.
“Pastors in Cuba monitored, threatened by Communist officials despite requests for greater protections: watchdog,” by Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post, December 14, 2018:
Church officials in Cuba have asked for greater protections for their denominations but instead pastors are being monitored and threatened as believers face increased incidents of harassment by Communist officials, a persecution watchdog group reports.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide released its findings in a report on Thursday, noting that freedom of religion or belief continues to be violated in the country.
Both Protestant and Roman Catholic institutions have called for greater protections, but that has led to increased harassment of religious leaders, CSW has warned.
“Often this takes subtler, hard to document forms, and is focused on attempting to create divisions between and within religious groups,” the watchdog explained in its summary.
“Religious leaders who have taken on a leadership role in the campaign, both at the local and national levels, have reported that pressure on them remains high; over the past year many have chosen to flee the country and to seek refuge abroad,” it added.
“Leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches, both those belonging to and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches, report frequent visits from and meetings with state security agents and Cuban Communist Party officials. These visits and meetings seem to be intended to intimidate the religious leaders and make them aware that they are under close surveillance.”
The report includes several examples of the harassment churches are facing. It also noted that a number of church leaders from various denominations have reported on frequent visits from state security or Communist Party agents….