Following a seminar in Truro about persecuted christians around the world, it was thought it would be good to share the information, and ask you to join us in praying for them.
A new country each month:
This month's focus is on the persecution of Christians in . . . .
Many have enjoyed a holiday in the beautiful coastal areas of Turkey, or enjoyed inland trips to view sites of ancient Roman towns and other buildings. Many are familiar with the western parts of the country through the accounts of the missionary journeys of Paul, Barnabas and others in the Book of Acts, and some of the pastoral letters. It was here that they established Christian church groups in many of the town and cities. In spite of frequent bouts of persecution, Christianity grew and spread, eventually becoming the main religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century.
In the 6th and 7th Centuries the Islamic faith arrived in the area and grew at the expense of the Christian churches. By the 13th/14th Centuries the whole area had come under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted until it collapsed during, and soon after, the turmoil of WWI.
During this turmoil some 3 million Christians, mostly of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek ethnicity were either killed or deported. With the establishment of modern Turkey, the place of Islam has become enmeshed with a fierce fanatical nationalism. Although supposedly a secular state, the deep antipathy of the past towards Christians and non-Turkish communities has continued to this day, if anything it is getting stronger.
The number of indigenous Christians is about 171,000, about 0.2% of the population. There are a few active and lively church communities today, but to be a practising Christian there today comes with a price tag, collectively and personally, especially for those from an Islamic background.
Employment is very restricted, and government jobs are scarce. Under the present government there has been an increase in restrictions on churches’ rights, property, evangelism, education, especially for non-traditional churches. Many old Christian churches have been converted to Mosques, including the world famous Hagia Sophia, others have been shuttered, torn down, or confiscated; cemeteries closed and missionaries expelled.
• Thank God for the small remaining Christian groups and churches pray-ing for their protection from Islamic extremism.
• Pray for new converts to Christianity, to increase their faith and humanity and fortitude as they come under pressure from their families.
• Pray that the government’s policy of islamisation, particularly with children, will be restrained .
• Pray for those who use social media as a tool for evangelism, that they will have wisdom, protection, and guidance by His Holy Spirit.
• Pray for all Christian refugees from neighbouring countries, that they will receive the help and shelter that they seek and need.