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Christians In Belarus Refuse Orders To Vacate Church Building

The New Life Church is located in a former barn.

The New Life Church is located in a former barn.

MINSK -- The pastor of an evangelical Christian group in Belarus called The New Life says his congregation will not comply with Minsk authorities’ demand that they leave their church, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

City officials visited the church last week and told the congregation's leadership that the church building must be vacated by Wednesday, August 19.

Pastor Vyachaslau Hancharenka told RFE/RL that the members of the congregation will stay in the church no matter what.

The building is an old barn in the Minsk suburbs that held livestock in the Soviet era.

In the last three years the congregation has been fighting to preserve the building as their place of worship. Local authorities say the property was "illegally privatized by the church in the 1990s."