India: Christian pastor shot and killed after baptizing five people

December 22, 2020

Persecution of Christians in India: Attackers such as those involved in this incident tend to see Christianity as a faith that is foreign to India. However, the Christian Faith has been in India since apostolic times, brought there by St. Thomas the Apostle in A.D. 52, as attested by St. Ephraim, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian, among others. St. Thomas was martyred in India in A.D. 72. Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East still survives there, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There also remains a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore. Roman Catholics and Protestants came to the Indian Subcontinent much later. As this article shows, Christians are frequently persecuted in India, mistreated and even brutalized by the Hindu majority. This persecution occasionally turns violent.

Christians of the ancient apostolic Churches are less often subjected to this treatment than are evangelical Protestants, but this persecution is a matter of concern for all Christians, and for all people of good will who believe in the dignity of every human person and in every person’s freedom to worship as his or her conscience dictates.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christian Pastor Shot and Killed in India’s Jharkhand State,” International Christian Concern, December 8, 2020:

12/18/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On December 8, a pastor from India’s Jharkhand state was shot dead by unidentified assailants. Although the motive for the murder has yet to be officially established, the family of the slain pastor claims he was killed for his faith.

According to local sources, the slain pastor was identified as Pastor Salim Stephen Surin. Pastor Surin was a part-time evangelist in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district and ran a small shop the village of Rania to support his wife and two children.

On December 8, Pastor Surin and his wife, Tarsis Surin, traveled to Putikda village because five people had expressed their desire to be baptized. After visiting the Christians in Putikda, Pastor Surin and his wife traveled home on the couple’s motorbike. Along the way, the couple was stopped by three unidentified individuals who shot and killed Pastor Surin.

“They killed my husband in front of my own eyes,” Tarsis told International Christian Concern (ICC). “I was terrified seeing my husband collapse having been shot in the chest. I started to think about my children and loudly cried out to God to save me and take care of my children.”

“I pushed the man who was pointing the gun towards me,” Tarsis continued. “I ran into the thick bushes and the nearby forest. I probably walked for more than ten hours to reach my home. I purposely did not take the road to avoid the attackers.”…

Photo by JND AMD – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,