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Photo from Compass Direct
Eighty members, including the church's pastor, Zekarias Abraham, of the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the city of Asmara were arrested by security forces following a worship service in their sanctuary on April 29. Several teachers from India who were working in Eritrea and an American couple were also arrested. The Americans, however, were released on May 3 and allowed to return to their Asmara home.

Following the closure of all the evangelical and charismatic churches in the nation on May 17, 2002, the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church was one of the few Eritrean churches allowed to function since it fulfilled the registration formalities demanded by the government. In addition to his duties as a pastor of the church, Pastor Zekarias Abraham has also served as the head of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance since his predecessor, Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel, was arrested in May 2004.

Pray for the release of these prisoners and the approximately 2000 other Christians presently in detention in Eritrea. Pray that they will encouraged by the examples of other men and women who have remained faithful in the face of terrible opposition (Hebrews 12:1-3). Pray that the government of Eritrea will stop its campaign against Christians and recognize the importance of religious freedom.

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Eritrea, click here.

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.


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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

  • Fifteen Christians Rearrested
    Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
    Click to view video.

    Eritrean authorities recently arrested 15 Christians during a series of raids on their houses in the capital city of Asmara. All 15 believers had been previously imprisoned for their faith – some for up to 16 years.