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Celebrating the release of Iranian Pastor

By December 23, 2015

Iran (MNN) — Christians constantly have a target on their backs in Iran, which leads to unfair and drawn out imprisonments. But right now, believers are celebrating the release of Iranian Pastor Farshid Fathi, reports Voice of the Martyrs USA (VOM).

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

“We are overjoyed and celebrating,” David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries told Bos News Life.

The pastor was released Monday from Rajaei-Shahr prison nearly five years after being arrested for his faith. Open Doors USA reports the release comes “just six months after he failed to appeal to a sentence to an extra year in jail and 74 lashes for allegedly possessing two liters of alcohol in his prison cell.”

Fathi had been serving a 6-year sentence (which was later extended to 7 years) after being found guilty for “action against the regime’s security, being in contact with foreign organizations, and religious propaganda.”

While his release was set to be December 2017, prison officials told him earlier this year he would be released this December.

Background

At 17, Fathi abandoned the Muslim faith to become a Christian, a full-time pastor, and house church leader–something virtually illegal in Iran. According to Iranian state, only Armenians and Assyrians can be Christians.

In October 2010, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei, declared house churches should be “dealt with.” Soon after came a crackdown of surveillance and arrests, pushing numerous believers into prison without fair trials. Pastors, church leaders, and converts were specifically pointed out, including Fathi.

On December 26, 2010, Fathi was arrested along with about 60 other Christians, most of whom have been released, according to World Watch Monitor.

The 35-year-old father of two waited in Evin Prison for 15 months without a trial. In January 2012, he was tried, but no details were released. And that following March, he and a member of the Church of Iran, Alireza Seyyadian, were transferred to Rajaei Shahr prison. Seyyadian was released in August of this year.

After five years and two different prisons, Fathi endured severe beatings and threats, but said he hadn’t given up hope. Bos News Life cited a recent letter he had written to fellow believers: “I am experiencing that He is with us, with me and my children, with me and with my faithful friends who are having part in my sorrows and [are] not ashamed of my sorrows.”

How you can help

Celebrations of Pastor Fathi’s release ring in the air, and hopes are high that he will be able to join his family in Canada who were offered protection in 2013. But many more believers remain in Iranian prisons.

In May of this year, around 90 believers were detained because of their faith, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. They are enduring the same beatings and threats Pastor Fathi went through. They need hope and encouragement.

VOM is praying for and encouraging persecuted believers to stay strong in Christ. They’re helping through provision of Bibles, ministry resources, and aid.

With your prayer and financial support, they want to continue uplifting persecuted believers. Remind Iranian Christians what their fight for faith means this Christmas.

25 Comments

  • Johanne says:

    WHAT ABOUT PASTOR SAEED?!

  • Yes let’s continue in prayer for Pastor Saeed and the others in prison.

  • Malcolm says:

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! God bless you Pastor Fathi. Thank you for showing us and the the world what real faith looks like. God bless you and enjoy Christmas with your family!

  • Debbie says:

    PRAISE GOD WE HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR HIM

  • mary joyner says:

    Amen!! Yes, continuing to pray!!

  • Praise the Lord, I have been praying for Pastor Saeed since the first time I heard of his imprisonment! WHAT A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GLORY TO GOD, HE REIGNS!!!!!!!!!
    I know he left many now. Christians, behind in that prison…..we should now pray for them!

  • Nancee says:

    Praying for Pastor Fathi and Sayeed!

  • Cindy says:

    I’m praising God for this good news!
    May the release of others, including Pastor Saeed, be swift!
    Let’s keep praying and in the mean time may God’s Holy Spirit
    fall on those fellow prisoners and prison guards who don’t know Him.
    Saeed is right there in the darkness bringing light where many are not willing to go. God bless him and his family!

  • Praise the Lord for Pastor Fathi’s release. Gives hope for Pastor Saeed’s release and still praying for him!!!

  • I am interested in finding out how Pastor Saeed is doing, ever since he was put in jail I have been praying to God for his release, everywhere I go for prayer service he is the first person on the list for prayer. This is something that God has put in my heart for the past 3 years. Sometimes months would past before we could hear news of Pastor Saeed condition. Could it be possible to know more about how he is doing,

  • Leila says:

    I praise God for his loyal love and mercy. My daily prayer is that God protect and give supernatural strenghth to all persecuted Christians to endure under trial faithfully.
    Well done Pastor Fahti! May Pastor Saeed and all chrisitans in Iranian
    prisons take heart and hope from your fine example and liberation!

  • PRAISE THE LORD FOR THIS VICTORY! HE IS ABLE TO DO THE SAME FOR ALL THE PRISONERS. “HE SETS THE CAPTIVE FREE”!!!

  • Dee says:

    I have been praying for he, his wife and two sons for these five years. I am overjoyed that God has allowed him to walk out of his prison!! I also entrust the care of Saeed Abidini to God, asking God to do the same for he and all those other precious members of the Body of Christ in Iran.

  • Laura H. says:

    We are thankful for this pastor’s life and his commitment to Christ. We pray that all people that have been imprisoned for their faith would be released soon, including our brother Saeed Abidini.

  • Barbara says:

    What wonderful news! Perhaps they will also release Saeed

  • Renee says:

    I hadn’t heard about this pastor, but am very happy that he was released in time for Christmas. It sounds like he’s in relatively good health, as well. However, what about Pastor Saeed? He has been beat upon and suffered more than many, I think, and I haven’t heard much about him lately. I pray that he is released soon, as well!

  • Gilda says:

    Didn’t realize how many detained out in Iran Well I too continue to pray for all persecuted Christians around the world Some are here in my Neighborhood.I have felt the sting of hatred myself But I am not greater than my Mastor Jesus To all,we are in good Company With our Lord. Keep the Faith and Fix your eyes above

  • jim tan says:

    We all joyfully and prayerfully celebrate your steadfastness in our faith to Our Lord Jesus (Yeshua) Christ.

    All honor, praise and glory unto Him!

    Prayers and Blessings to you and your family and to those who are still in prison like Pastor Saeed.

    “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4)

  • Praising the Lord for the release of Pastors Farshid Fathi and Saeed Abedini. Also praying Pastor Fathi will soon be reunited with his family. Now let us turn our prayer focus on Pastor Benham Irani, jailed in Iran for his Christian faith. Originally sentenced to one year in prison, authorities have piled on further charges increasing the sentence to nine years.

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