Pastor VIACHASLAU HANCHARENKA, New Life Full Gospel Church, Minsk, Belarus

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Pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka

Pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka, New Life Full Gospel Church, Minsk, Belarus.

On 4 March 2022, Hancharenka made a public appeal to the President’s Administration, the State Secretariat of the Security Council, the Ministry of Defense, the Council of Ministers, the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the Republican Committee of the Belarusian Organisation of Soldiers’ Mothers. In the appeal he said, in particular:

«As a pastor and servant of God, I implore you before God and our Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom, not to allow a great evil to happen – the participation of Belarus in the war against Ukraine… I ask you to make every effort to prevent the participation of the Belarusian military, as well as civilians, in this war. I ask Belarus to contribute in every possible way to peace, including not providing the territory of Belarus as a springboard for military operations».

On September 20, 2022, Hancharenka was invited to the Frunzienski district police department in Minsk and detained there; on the same day, he was fined 100 basic units (3,200 Belarusian rubles). On 15 August 2023, the Minsk District Court arrested Hancharenka for ten days under Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus (Disobedience to a lawful order or requirement of an official in the exercise of official powers). His relative was accused of “using obscene language and waving his arms” and arrested for five days under Article 19. 1 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Belarus (Minor hooliganism).

The New Life church community suffered a series of persecutions. On 20 June 2023, demolition of the building on 72 Kovalova Street began. On 17 October 2023, the Minsk City Court decided to close the New Life Full Gospel Church. The community filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. On 12 December 2023, the Supreme Court confirmed the lower court’s decision and made the final decision on the closure of the New Life Church with immediate effect.