January 2, 2001

"If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

(1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

RADICAL RASTAFARIANS ATTACKED A CATHEDRAL IN CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA Sunday, killing one nun and injuring others with machetes and a blowtorch. The two men told police that they we prophets sent to combat corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. Rastafarians worship Haile Sallasie, the late Ethiopian emperor, whom they believe to be the true Messiah.

St Lucia, a tiny island in the southern West Indies, is predominantly Roman Catholic. Sunday's attack came during Holy Communion while more than 400 people were inside the cathedral.

BOMBS DAMAGED TWO MORE CHURCHES IS DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN ON SUNDAY. One bomb destroyed two outbuildings at the Church of St. Nicholas in Dushanbe, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. The blast also damaged the Sunday school building and the baptistery.

The second bomb broke the windows at a Seventh-Day Adventist church. No one was hurt.

Tajikistan, a largely Muslim country, is still recovering from a 1992-1997 civil war between the government and the Islamic opposition.

HINDU RADICALS IN INDIA MURDERED A CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ATTACKED A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL in separate incidents last month, according to Zenit, a Catholic news agency. The murder of the priest in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal was the latest incident in a wave of violence unleashed throughout the country against Christians.

A group of men raided the residence of Port Blair priest John Peter Dec. 15 and killed him with knives and clubs, and left behind materials denouncing the priest's activities in converting Hindus, Zenit reported. Catholic officials urged the New Delhi government to find those responsible and guarantee the safety of Christians in the islands.

A group of nuns will leave their school in, after an attack, Zenit reported. The Sisters of St. Anne will leave their school in Kurpania Bokaro, in eastern India, after they were assaulted and a cook at the school was raped by a mob that invaded the school.

A CHRISTIAN VILLAGE NEAR JERUSALEM IS BEING USED AS A STAGING GROUND for attacks on the city's residents, the publisher of the Jerusalem Post says. Palestinian guerillas come nightly to Beit Jalla, a Christian Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, to attack the nearby suburb of Gilo, Tom Rose wrote in the Dec. 18 edition of The Weekly Standard, a U.S. magazine.The guerillas commandeer their way into homes, many of them owned by Christian families, and proceed to fire thousands of bullets into the homes and apartment houses of Jews in Gilo, Rose said. The Israeli army uses sharpshooters to counter the attacks but the results are inconclusive and the nightly conflicts end when the guerillas run out of bullets, he said.The Palestinians are attempting to goad the Israelis into a full-scale attack on the village, which they believe will result in condemnation of Israel by Christians worldwide, Rose said. Christians should call on Prime Minister Barak to secure the village with blockades, preventing Palestinian gunmen from their nightly attacks, he said. Such a move "would win support from 90 percent of Israelis, not to mention the Christians of Beit Jalla,"

Rose said.

THE SALVATION ARMY MAY BE SHUT DOWN IN MOSCOW due to their failure to obtain the required permits. But Moscow's Christians are asking the mayor not to shut down the religious organization, Conservative News Service reported.Over the last year, the charitable Christian organization has met with trouble in its attempts to re-register with the government as a religious group.

Under Russia's 1997 religion law, if the Salvation Army cannot gain approval from Moscow authorities by Dec. 31, it can be dissolved or lose its rights to meet in public, own property, or distribute materials there, CNS reported.

"Since we have the word 'army' in our name, they said we are a militarized organization bent on the violent overthrow of the Russian government," Col. Kenneth Baillie, who heads the Salvation Army's work in Moscow, told CNS. Although the group successfully re-registered in other cities, Moscow City Court recently upheld an earlier ruling blocking its approval, calling the group "fascist" and a threat to security.

The Army's military terminology could easily be misunderstood, but the group had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was known for its "peace-loving" activities. The Moscow Times joined the Salvation Army's allies. "The poor are under much greater threat from cold, hunger, and loneliness," than foreign religious groups, one of its editorials said. The group is a victim of the "typically ham-handed, xenophobic style that characterizes so much of the Russian bureaucracy," it said.

The newspaper also called on Patriarch Alexy II of the Russian Orthodox Church to ask authorities to reconsider their earlier decision. "Winter's cold is here. Christmas is coming. What other reason do we need to do what is right?" the English-language Times wrote.

CHINA'S CHRISTIANS NEED FOREIGN BIBLE TEACHERS to help them grow in the faith, underground church leaders say. "Our movement grows by 20 percent each year, but out of 1200 leaders, barely 50 have been Christians for more than four years," a leader told Compass Direct News Service. Of those 50, only 20 have received extensive Bible training, he said.

"We must have foreign teachers to come and help us ground ourselves in the Scriptures, otherwise we may become unorthodox, or a cult," the leader said. Some house church movements have departed from orthodox Christian doctrine because of a lack of biblical teaching, according to news reports.

The communist government doesn't help the situation. "Ironically, the government is always telling us we must not become cults. But their policy makes that more likely, because it prevents us from teaching new converts the truth of the Christian faith," the leader said. Regulations forbid foreign religious workers from distributing Bibles or conducting religious activities.

PERSECUTION NEWS is a non-regular periodic service of Foot of the Cross Publications. Articles are copied from various sources, including Newsweek, Compass Direct, Religious News Today and FridayFax. The information is for the sole purpose of disseminating information about persecution of Christians around the world, and subscriptions are free.

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