On July 15, Pastor Artur Suleimanov was shot to death by a gunman as he was leaving the Hosanna House of Prayer in Makhachkala, Dagestan, according to VOM Canada and Barnabas Fund. Dagestan is a federal republic of Russia in the North Caucasus region.
Pastor Suleimanov was known as a dynamic leader of one of the largest Protestant churches in Russia. “Pastor Suleimanov was a wonderful Christian brother, and his shocking death is a devastating loss for the Dagestan church,” a coordinator with Barnabas Fund said. “He and the Hosanna House of Prayer church were very active in ministry and outreach in particular. We see his murder as an attempt to put further pressure on Christian converts in Dagestan.” Pastor Suleimanov is survived by his wife and five children.
Earlier this year, the Hosanna House of Prayer’s five-year permit allowing it to conduct a prison ministry was abruptly revoked by authorities, according to Forum 18 News. At the time, Pastor Artur Suleimanov told Forum 18 News that authorities had also changed their positive assessment of the church’s work with drug addicts. Following the government action, three Pentecostal pastors told Forum 18 that their congregations’ lack of freedom was due to public attitudes, which prevent some church members from attending Sunday worship even at open churches in urban locations. Forum 18 News reported that “One village police chief who stopped Protestants meeting pointed to the mosque and told Pastor Suleimanov, ‘That’s my law.’”
The Voice of the Martyrs stands with believers in Russia who remain faithful despite persecution. Pray for Pastor Suleimanov’s family as they grieve his loss, and pray that God will touch the heart of Pastor Suleimanov’s murderer. Pray that Christians in Russia will be emboldened to spread the gospel despite opposition.