Leaders in the Euro-Asia Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a church region that includes the Russian Federation, released an official statement last week, as they try to counter false news circulating about the status of the church in that country. The statement, signed by the church regional president M. F. Kaminsky, and public affairs and religious liberty director O. Y. Goncharov seeks to allay fears after misinformation circulating online stated that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was about to be banned from that nation.
Below is the official statement released by the regional Adventist leaders.
Official Statement Regarding Misinformation on the Activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation
In light of the information that has been published on the Internet on the plans for placing a ban on the activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia, we officially communicate that any such information from unofficial sources is not consistent with reality.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation is a community-focused denomination, with more than 130 years of service in this territory; a fellowship of law-abiding believers, who are striving, in their life and ministry, to make a positive impact on the surrounding society.
In recent years, the Church has built, in the spirit of mutual respect,constructive dialogue with state authorities that allows for opening new possibilities to use the resources of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for meeting the needs of society. Indeed, the program “Family Health, Nation’s Health,” aimed at preventing lifestyle-related diseases, is being implemented thanks to a public grant under an ordinance of the President of the Russian Federation. It is something that attests to the fact that state authorities have in high regard the Adventist Church’s participation in public life.
In view ofthis, we again solemnly declare that there is no reason to believe that any justified or sensible reason exists for restricting or banning the activity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Federation.
O. Y. Goncharov, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director, Euro-Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Member of the Advisory Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations Under the President of the Russian Federation