Screen captures from the live broadcast of worship at Grace Church in Melitopol on September 11, as worship was interrupted by occupation forces.
The church in the village of Chkalovo, Melitopol district. Soldiers entered the Wednesady evening service on September 21 and ordered the church building closed.
Kurchatov Church in Mariupol.
Russian occupation authorities closed Grace Baptist Church in Melitopol on Sunday, September 11, during the church’s worship service. Armed men entered the sanctuary while the congregation was singing a hymn. They halted the worship service, registered the names of all those present, and detained several ministers. Grace Church’s pastor, Mikhail Britsyn, was ordered to leave the city within 48 hours.
In the nearby village of Chkalovo in the Melitopol district, Russian Federation soldiers came to the church’s evening service on Wednesday September 21 and forbade the gathering, saying, “Your feet will not be here after the referendum. We have only one faith: Orthodoxy.” The church had been holding worship services every day since the war began.
We have also confirmed that in Mariupol, occupation authorities closed the Kurchatov Church last month and held the church leader and his wife in an unknown location, after initially yielding to members’ appeals to release the leader and permit the church to remain open.