Christians in general are a tiny minority in this massive nation, and they are more threatened now than ever before. Christians face increasing discrimination and persecution, often sanctioned by authorities, and as this article notes, it has even gotten to the point that churches need armed guards during worship services.
There is a small and courageous community of Orthodox Christians in Indonesia, numbering around 2500 people. Please beseech Almighty God that this situation would end in Indonesia, and that Christians would be safe to celebrate their holiest days in peace.
“Indonesia Tightens Security for Churches During Holy Week,” International Christian Concern, April 20, 2019:
This Easter Triduum, thousands of police, troops and Muslim groups will be guarding churches, particularly those considered high risk in Indonesia. Authorities will make sure they are able to provide sufficient security despite potential protests after the presidential and national elections were held on April 17.
Most of these churches are located in Java and Sumatra, where many Muslim hard-liners are based.
Last month, police arrested a terrorist suspect in the area, after police tried to raid their home and the bombs stored in his home killed his wife and child. Father Aloysius Barut, parish priest of St. Theresia Cathedral Church in Sibolga, North Sumatra, told UCA News, security measures at his church has been increased to offset any potential terrorist attacks.
“Catholics in Sibolga are on high alert following the incident,” Father Barut said. “Police and military personnel will secure the church. Parishioners will also help,” the priest added.
Benediktus Yulita, secretary of Santa Maria Church in Surabaya, East Java, also told UCA News, “About 100 security officers will secure the church,” he said, adding that members of the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest moderate Islamic organization, will also help provide security. The church was one of the three churches attacked by suicide bombers last May….