Hrodna: Hunger-strike Is over, Authorities Satisfy Believers’ Demands

2006 2006-12-06T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


On 6 December the chairman of Hrodna city soviet Uladzimir Sauchanka agreed to construction of a new Roman Catholic Church of the community of Our Lady of Vostraia Brama, Mother of Mercy. The permission was given in a letter to the bishop of Hrodna diocese Aliaksandr Kashkevich. It was stated in an interview to the news agency BelaPAN by the priest Aliaksandr Shemet. He believes that ‘the spark that appeared in Minsk during the protest action in support of the New Life church, belonging to the Full Gospel churches in Belarus, has reached Hrodna and won the fight against injustice’. As said by priest Aliaksandr, 16 participants of the hunger strike have stopped the protest.

’However, it is not the end of struggle against crackdown on Christian churches’, the priest said.

In interview to BelaPAN Viachaslau Hancharenka, the head bishop of the Association of the Full Gospel Communities in Belarus and pastor of the New Life church who was in Hrodna among participants of the protest, called the events ‘a big victory of all Christians’. ‘Believers have gained a confidence in their force, an ability to state their rights and fight for justice openly. And it brings victory,’ the bishop emphasized.

The hunger strike in Hrodna started on 1 December. The protesters demanded a written permission to build a church in Repin Street, 2. They had been waiting for the permission for almost 10 years. The community is 8,000 members-strong, and it possesses a little brick building of Sts. Peter and Paul chapel, and a wooden chapel for 300 seats. They are situated on a lot of land of 0.27 hectares in the part of the city beyond Nioman. These buildings cannot admit all believers who come for services. The community has brought a lot of land of 0.33 hectares to build a new church.