Christian friends wanting to meet in a cafe to read the Bible together should first notify the authorities, reports Russian newspaper Vedomosti. Bible study just got a little more badass.
The report follows comments by the Russian representative to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Mikhail Galperin, on the case of evangelical Christian Alexei Kolyasnikov, who was fined in 2014 for organising a Bible study in a Sochi cafe.
According to the official Russian response, collective Bible reading should be coordinated with the authorities to ensure the safety of both participants and random passersby, as such meetings might violate the interests of “visitors who become unwilling participants”.
Resembling Russian protest laws, which obligate demonstrators to “notify” the authorities of their wish to stage a mass public event — which in practice means rallies can be blocked — the response regarding religious gatherings states that believers can freely assemble, but this right can be infringed if it is necessary to protect constitutional order and ensure security.
Source: Afisha (in Russian)