Posted on 11th January 2013
Greetings in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace
On 31st December we requested prayer for Pastor Vruir Avanessian who was detained by security agents during a raid on a gathering of believers on 27th December.
We are pleased to report that Pastor Vruir was released from Evin prison in Tehran yesterday (10th January). Property title deeds were submitted as bail, and he is awaiting a summons to a court hearing. The date of the hearing is not yet known and the charges he will face remain unspecified.
Recall that he was detained when 15 security agents interrupted a Christmas celebration attended by approximately 50 believers, most of whom were from Muslim backgrounds (Pastor Vruir himself is of Armenian descent). All were required to complete a detailed pre-prepared questionnaire. Among details collected were contact details, email and social media ID and password information, and details of how they had come to accept Christianity. Mobile phones were confiscated and they were advised that they would be summoned individually for further questionning.
There was serious concern for
Pastor Vruir’s health because he requires regular
At least 20 other believers are known to remain detained in Iran because of their Christian faith or activities. These include Pastor Farshid, held in Evin prison since December 2010, and Pastor Behnam, held in Ghezal Hesar prison, Karaj, since May 2011. Behnam is not receiving the medical treatment necessary for a serious health issue. Pastor Saeed, a dual Iranian-American national held in Evin prison since 26th September 2012, has been informed that his case will be assigned to a Revolutionary Court judge who is notorious for his harsh sentences. No date has yet been set for Saeed’s court hearing
Those supporting Pastor Vruir and his family praise God for his conditional release and thank us for our prayers. Iranian Christians request our continued prayer that:
a. Pastor Vruir will know the peace and presence of Jesus, quickly return to normal living, and that all charges against him will be dropped
b. The others present at the Christmas gathering will know the peace of Jesus, that the investigations will be dropped and they will face no further legal proceedings
c. Farshid, Behnam, Saeed and all others who remain detained for their faith will know the peace and presence of Jesus, that they will be released soon, and that all charges against them will be dropped
d. Christians throughout Iran will know the Spirit’s wisdom, especially concerning when and where to meet for worship
e. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him
be circulated to general mailing lists, outside organizations, and quoted from
freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the