How many Christians are there in Turkmenistan?
There are 5.9 million people living in Turkmenistan. There are 70,500 Christians there, making up a very tiny minority – just 1.2 per cent of the population.
Most Christians in Turkmenistan are part of the Russian Orthodox church. The indigenous church – formed of Christians who have converted from a Muslim background – is very young and numbers roughly 1,000 believers, but is growing.
Why are Christians persecuted in Turkmenistan?
The strongly Islamic culture makes life difficult for converts to Christianity - conversion is regarded as an affront to the honour of the family. Persecution also comes from the state, as Protestant churches are seen as an alien sect aiming to depose the government, hence the need for them to be controlled and eradicated. As such, no religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed.
“We really need unity as Christians in Turkmenistan.”Secret believers in Turkmenistan
What’s life like for Christians in Turkmenistan?
Where churches have not been registered, Christians suffer repeatedly from police raids, threats, arrests and fines. Even Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches may experience Sunday services being monitored. The printing or importing of Christian materials is also restricted.
Christians from a Muslim background bear the brunt of the persecution both at the hands of the state and from family, friends and community. Some converts are locked up by their families for long periods, beaten and may eventually be expelled from their communities.
How can I help Christians in Turkmenistan
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Turkmenistan. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Lord Jesus, may our brothers and sisters in Turkmenistan know You as the solid Rock on which they stand. Help them to shine as lights in the darkness, and make a way for believers there to meet together in safety. May You open the eyes of those who seek to harm Your church to Your love, mercy and glory. Amen.