Belarusian pastor fined for administering baptism


Eastern Europe


The court in Gomel. Photo AFP, Sergei Gapon

A Belarusian court in the town of Gomel fined pastor Dmitry Podlobko last month. Podlobko had administered baptism earlier that month in a swimming pool in his garden. He did not have permission from the state to do so.

It is the second time within a year that the pastor of the Living Faith Church in Gomel was fined because of administering the sacrament of baptism. That is reported by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad based on the news website Forum 18.

At the end of 2021, pastor Podlobko administered the sacrament in a river without the state's permission. He received a fine worth two days of average salary at that time. His church received a warning.

Last month, the preacher administered baptism on private territory in a swimming pool in his garden. The police sued him because he would have broken the law. "Before you carry out religious rituals, you have to ask permission from the local Executive Committee", the head of the police district Gomel told Forum 18. "He did not have permission. This is the law, and I am obliged to implement it."

Permission for public events, including religious ones, is often refused, Forum 18 writes. When consent is given, it usually costs a lot of money. The Living Faith Church could not afford it, pastor Podkobko said to Forum 18.

The court fined the pastor again. This time, he received a penalty worth two weeks of modal income. Pastor Podloko responded to his verdict via Twitter and Telegram. He writes, among other things: "What can I do as a pastor and we as a church? Pray. Therefore, I pray for our church, and I also pray for the authorities of our city."

The pastor hopes that "God gives and opens doors to preach the Word of God to the leaders of our city and that many of them repent and are saved."

The living Faith Church in Gomel was founded in 1997 by a missionary from Denmark, together with Dmitry and Oksana Podlobko.



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