A Call to Prayer: Baptists from the city of Ukhta will go to the Constitutional Court to legitimize the church building

A Call to Prayer: Baptists from the city of Ukhta will go to the Constitutional Court to legitimize the church building

The Komi Republic Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of the Ukhta Christian - Baptists, to officially commission the newly constructed church building. City authorities denied permission to do this and the court recognized the actions of the municipal authorities as legitimate. Now the Baptists intend to appeal to the higher Constitutional Court of Russia.

The history of the issue is somewhat strange. They were issued a permit for the construction of the “religious” building along West Street in 2006 and was repeatedly extended. Construction was completed in 2012. According to church members, the commissioning of the building in early 2013 was delayed due to the illness of the church pastor and financial difficulties. This caused legal registration of the construction project to be suspended.

The land on which the church was build was zoned as “Ж-3” code with the permitted type of use: the placement of religious buildings. But in 2013, the city council approved new zoning rules for the development of that area making it an individual residential development, which does not include the presence of religious buildings. This is clearly unreasonable, as the area is already home to industrial buildings with factories and manufacturing, which is unfit for residential homes.

In July 2017, the former pastor died, and in April 2018, a new pastor was appointed to the church, who immediately began the legalization process for the church. However, amendments to the City Planning Code of Russia began to take affect, making it impossible to receive the permits for commencing the building, with the mayor’s office refusing to let a religious organization be issued a permit for putting the church into operation.

The building of the church has turned out to have an uncertain legal fate: it was built on legal grounds and cannot be considered as an unauthorized building, but it is impossible to legalize it. Religious organization to resolve the issue intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The Baptists are the oldest religious organization in the city. It was organized by the exiled repressed believers in the 1930s. Historians recorded spiritual meetings in the 30’s and the shooting of Christian Baptists in Ukhta in 1941. Regular services were held beginning in November 1945. Now the church has about 200 members.

Dear brothers and sisters! We ask you to pray for the upcoming meeting of the Constitutional Court, when the issue of registration of a prayer house, built in Ukhta, Komi Republic, will be considered.

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