This news item concerns Roman Catholic priests who refuse to join the government-sanctioned Roman Catholic Church, but it has ominous implications for Christians of all faith traditions. As we have shown here with numerous news articles over the past few months, the Chinese government is now acting swiftly against all Christian Churches and organizations that are not officially recognized by the government. That includes China’s small but courageous Orthodox Christian community. The Order earnestly hopes that international human rights organizations will take up the plight of the Christians of China, and that the UN and US State Department and all other nations that are committed to freedom will do all they can to prevail upon the Chinese government to reverse these policies and grant religious freedom to the Christians and all people of that nation. Please pray, in the meantime, that the Christians of China will be strengthened in their faith, and as Great and Holy Week approaches, will be given the strength to walk the path through the crucifixion they are undergoing to the Resurrection in our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Priests Forcibly Taken Away by the Chinese Government,” International Christian Concern, April 17, 2019:

The Chinese government has not stopped persecuting underground Catholic community in China even after the signing of a provisional agreement between the Vatican and Beijing last year.

Ahead of Easter, local governments in Hebei and Gansu province forcibly took away two unofficial priests from their respective dioceses. Father Paul Zhang Guangjun of Xuanhua Diocese in Hebei was beaten and kidnapped on April 14 by state security agents, while Father Hong Wanxi was forcibly returned to his home village by the United Front Department on the same day.

Sitting in a car, Father Zhang and his companion were dragged out and beaten by several thugs claiming their affiliation with the Public Security Bureau. They roughly took Father Zhang away after kicking his companion out of the car.

Father Zhang is the third underground cleric from the same diocese to be taken by authorities in less than a month….

Both priests have repeatedly refused to join the Patriotic Association, the state-controlled Catholic church, in spite of ongoing threats and harassment from the government….

Photo: Wikimedia Commons