(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Since May 2002, the Eritrean government has been actively trying to destroy any religious community in the country that they do not officially recognize.  The evangelical community has been particularly affected as hundreds have been arrested and tortured. Left alone, for the most part, has been the officially recognized Eritrean Orthodox Church.  However, in August 2005, the Orthodox patriarch, Abuna Antonios, was removed from his administrative duties under pressure from the Eritrean government, apparently because he has been critical of government interference in the affairs of the church (click here for more details).  Antonios refused to accept the restrictions that were illegally placed on him and a struggle for control ensued between the patriarch and the government-appointed administrator, Yoftahe Dimetros.  On January 13, a letter was sent to Antonios, informing him that he had been removed from the position of patriarch.  According to a January 20 report by Release Eritrea, Antonios has also been placed under house arrest.

Pray that Abuna Antonios' message of religious freedom will reach the ears and hearts of government leaders.  Pray that God will grant him all that he needs during these difficult days.  Pray for the release of all Eritrean Christians who are in detention because of their allegiance to Christ.

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Eritrea, click here.  A video news report from Eritrea is also available on VOMC's multimedia website, https://www.vomcanada.com/.

Country Information


6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.


Select a Region

Eritrea News

  • More Church Leaders Detained
    Church building
    A church in Eritrea

    In 2002, the government of Eritrea outlawed every religion except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Since then, the oppression against other religious groups has been severe. Even those within the approved faith groups have been at risk of op

  • Twenty Years of Oppression
    Eritrean Bible
    Photo: VOMC

    In May 2002, the Eritrean government closed all unregistered churches and established legislation outlawing any religious community except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Government oppression and control was strongly instituted, even within these

  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
    Several rusty shipping containers - Photo: VOMC
    Prison officials continue to hold detainees in cramped, unsanitary shipping containers.
    Photo: VOMC

    In mid-March, 29 evangelical Christians were arrested when Eritrean security forces raided a home prayer meeting in Asmara. According to reports, 17 women and 12 men were taken to the Mai Serwa prison