Myanmar: Pastors face three years in jail after being charged for their role in organizing prayers for peace

July 6, 2021

In Myanmar, as elsewhere in Asia, Christianity is viewed as a foreign religion that threatens the integrity of the culture. Christians make up about 8.2 percent of the population of Myanmar. Most of these Christians are Protestants, with Roman Catholics comprising most of the rest; there is, however, a small community of Christians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which broke communion with Holy Orthodoxy after the fourth ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, over its definition of the two natures of Christ, divine and human. Also, 13th century inscriptions in Greek have been discovered in Myanmar, indicating that there may have once been a Greek Orthodox presence there.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Myanmar, see here.

“Myanmar pastors charged after holding peace prayers,” UCA News, July 1, 2021:

Three pastors from Kachin state in northern Myanmar are facing three years in jail after being detained and charged for their leading role in organizing prayers for peace.

They were detained on June 28 after the chairman of the Rawang Literature and Culture Committee (RLCC) filed a lawsuit over them for leading a prayer service in Naungmoon township of Putao district on March 3, according to media reports.

The pastors, who belong to the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and Rawang Baptist Convention, could face up to three years in prison under a penal code which criminalizes causing fear, spreading false news and agitating for criminal offenses against government employees.

The RLCC chairman is reportedly a member of the military regime’s administrative body in Putao and a member of the military-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)….

The pastors, who are in their 60s and not in good health, were sent to a prison in Naungmoon township on June 29 and a court hearing has been set for July 12, according to a Kachin-based media report….

The military has raided churches, including Catholic and Baptist ones, in Kachin and Chin states, the Irrawaddy Delta, Yangon and Mandalay. Eight priests from Chin and Kachin states and Mandalay have been arrested.

At least eight churches and a Marian shrine in Kayah and neighboring Shan state were attacked by artillery shelling in May.