International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Поклонный крест на Бутовском полигоне.jpg
A Christian Cross shrine at the Butovo Firing Range commemorating the martyrs who were persecuted in the Soviet Union, which established state atheism and implemented antireligious legislation in that country.[1]
Also calledIDOP
Liturgical ColorRed
TypeChristian
ObservancesChurch services, prayer, fundraising for persecuted Christians
DateFirst Sunday of November[2]
Frequencyannual
Related to

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (often abbreviated as IDOP) is an observance within the Christian kalendar in which congregations pray for Christians who are persecuted for their faith.[2] It falls on the first Sunday of November, within the liturgical period of Allhallowtide, which is dedicated to remembering the martyrs and saints of Christianity.[3][4] The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is observed by many Christian denominations, with over 100,000 congregations honoring the holiday worldwide.[2] Congregations focus on "praying for individuals, families, churches, or countries where Christians are facing hard situations."[5][6] Additionally, many congregations donate funds from their collection of tithes and offerings on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church to NGOs that support human rights of persecuted Christians, such as Voice of the Martyrs, International Christian Concern, and Open Doors.[7][3]

History[edit]

The remains of the Mogadishu Cathedral, which belonged to the Catholic Christians of Somalia, after being destroyed by the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

The persecution of Christians is worse today "than at any time in history".[8] At the present moment, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world.[9]

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church originated in the 20th century to raise awareness of the increasing violence, torture, death, "worship restrictions, public humiliation, and social isolation" that some Christians face in atheist states, such as in North Korea, as well as in South Asia and the Middle East;[3][10] the observance was spearheaded by the World Evangelical Alliance.[2] It has since been observed in many Christian denominations, such as the United Methodist Church.[2] The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church falls on the first Sunday of November, within the liturgical period of Allhallowtide, which is dedicated to remembering the martyrs and saints of Christianity.[4][3]

The November observance has been promulgated by many NGOs that champion human rights for Christians, including Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and International Christian Concern.[3] Victims of persecution, including believers and missionaries, have also advocated to spread the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.[11][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bishop Michael Leads Pilgrimage to Holy Sites of Russia" (PDF). Orthodox Church in America. 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2019. Over the course of the thirteen-day pilgrimage, His Grace – along with Fr. Ilya and 38 pilgrims from America, Germany, England, and Australia – witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Russia, which has experienced a miraculous resurrection following the fall of the Soviet regime and its official state atheism. ... Outside of Moscow, the pilgrims had a profound experience visiting the killing fields of Butovo, one of perhaps a hundred such execution sites around Moscow where thousands of dissidents – including many Orthodox Christians – were murdered during the height of the Soviet purges.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gryboski, Michael (4 November 2018). "'Listen to Their Cry': Churches Worldwide Take Part in Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians". The Christian Post. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church". Christianity Today. Retrieved 17 October 2019. In Africa, North Korea, China, India, the Philippines, and other nations, Christians face worship restrictions, public humiliation, and social isolation. Many encounter violence; some face death. Church buildings are burned and vandalized. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is charged with raising awareness of such circumstances and lifting the most pressing instances of global persecution up in prayer. Held annually in mid-November, traditionally a month devoted to remembering the saints and martyrs of the church, the event is supported by prominent evangelical and humanitarian organizations including the World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, and International Christian Concern.
  4. ^ a b Henry-Crowe, Susan (1 November 2018). "International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church". General Board of Church and Society. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  5. ^ Sadiq, Yousaf (25 March 2019). "How should we respond to the persecution of Christians?". Evangelical Focus. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  6. ^ Godwin, Rachel (4 November 2018). "Two secret churches in North Korea show how powerful the Bible really is". Fox News. Retrieved 17 October 2019. Today, Nov. 4, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Christians in America and across the world will dedicate time in their services and personally to pray for those who are suffering persecution because of their faith.
  7. ^ Kumar, Anugrah (5 November 2017). "Christians Called to Take Action on International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church". The Christian Post. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  8. ^ Maza, Christina (4 January 2018). "Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than "any time in history," report says". Newsweek. Retrieved 17 October 2019. The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today "than at any time in history," and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said. The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times. "Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution," the report said.
  9. ^ "Christians are 'most persecuted group'". BBC. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  10. ^ Marsden, Lee (2019). Religion and International Security. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781509534319. The authoritarian regime of Kim Jong-un is an atheist state where religion is regarded as a threat and religious adherents suffer persecution. Religious groups including Korean shamanism, Chondoism, Buddhism and Christianity operate but members are arrested, tortured, imprisoned and sometimes executed (USCIRF 2017: 16). Christians fare particularly poorly, with their religion being regarded as Western or influenced by South Korea, where Christians make up 30 per cent of the population. Christians, when convicted, tend to be sentenced to political internment camps, where they experience torture, starvation, forced abortion, sexual violence and extrajudicial killing (ACN 2017: 35). There are between 50 and 70,000 Christians in these internment camps (Open Doors 2017). As religious prisoners they receive worse treatment in what are already harsh conditions (ACN 2017: 28).
  11. ^ Parke, Caleb (5 September 2019). "Chinese pastor shared Christian faith with 1,000 North Koreans before execution, defector claims". Fox News. Retrieved 17 October 2019. Han fed and sheltered thousands of North Koreans over the years — many of whom had fled the famine-stricken country in search of food and jobs. One of them, Sang-chul, shared his story in a short documentary from The Voice of the Martyrs, as a way to encourage believers around the world to participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, Nov. 3.
  12. ^ Zaimov, Stoyan. "International Day of Prayer: Once Great Iranian Church Re-Emerging, but Millions Need Prayers to God". The Christian Post. Retrieved 17 October 2019. A coalition of Iranian church leaders and pastors have come together for the first time to ask for prayers for the re-emerging Church in Iran on Sunday's International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

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