BELARUS: Massive fine for "illegal" Baptisms


Apparently the government has to give permission before one can baptize in Belarus.

Pastor Sergei Poznyakovich baptised some 70 people in a local lake on 2 July, a congregation member told Forum 18 from the small town of Baranovichi (Brest region) in south-west Belarus, where Salvation Pentecostal Church is located. The Pentecostal – whose son was among the baptised - was not aware of any state representatives observing the event, but recalled that police officers subsequently visited the church on Sunday 16 July.

As a result of the baptisms, Judge Oksana Kusheva of Baranovichi Municipal Court on 30 August fined Pastor Poznyakovich 4,650,000 Belarusian Roubles (14,225 Norwegian Kroner, 1,696 Euros or 2,171 US Dollars), the congregation member confirmed to Forum 18. Also, the Pentecostal Union’s bishop for Brest region, Nikolai Kurkayev, was fined 640,000 Belarusian Roubles (1,952 Norwegian Kroner, 235 Euros or 298 US Dollars).
The fine was so high because the pastor had performed unsanctioned baptisms last year too.

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