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In the first known case of a church closure under Azerbaijan's new religion law, a judge in Baku ruled on April 25 to liquidate Greater Grace Protestant Church. Under terms of the ruling, religious activity by the church or its members is illegal and is subject to punishment. The church intends to appeal the ruling. Although Greater Grace registered with the state in 1993, it did not re-register in 2009 when the new religion law passed because leaders believed the church was already registered (for more information, click here).

Hundreds of churches that re-registered in 2009 are still waiting for the State Committee to respond to their applications. In some cases, churches were denied registration because of unspecified errors in their applications. Christians fear that the ruling against Greater Grace sets a dangerous precedent for other churches in the country.

Pray that Christians in Azerbaijan will continue to gather together for worship despite restrictions. Pray that believers will confidently entrust themselves to Christ so that they can preach the gospel without hesitation (2 Timothy 1:7-12). Pray that religious freedom will be respected in Azerbaijan.

For more on the trials Christians face in Azerbaijan, visit the Azerbaijan Country Report.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
10,282,283 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Azerbaijani (91.6), Lezghin (2), Russian (1.3), Armenian (1.3), Talysh (1.3), other (2.4)

Religions (%)
Islam (97.3), Christianity (2.6), other (0.1)

Leader
President Ilham Aliyev (2003)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Azerbaijan

Pray for peace within the hearts of the Azerbaijani people who are living amid political instability. May the country's governmental authorities be willing to grant Christians their fundamental freedoms, enabling them to worship freely and share their faith openly with others of their communities.

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