Forum 18, 11 February 2020
For more than a decade, the authorities in Kaluga, south-west of Moscow, have tried to confiscate the church building and land from Word of Life Pentecostal Church.
When the Pentecostals bought the unfinished sports complex in 2002, the local authorities had no complaints.
The Regional Arbitration Court ruled against Word of Life on 29 March 2019, arguing that the Church had not obtained proper permissions for the reconstruction and that the building had serious defects. Word of Life insists that these problems have been resolved and presented five expert reports to show that the building is safe.
State inspections, including site visits and examination of technical and legal documents, concluded that the building conformed to all construction norms, and did not pose a threat to the life and health of citizens.
Word of Life lodged an appeal at Kaluga Regional Court on 14 January 2020, and the first hearing has been scheduled for 2 March. At present the Church continues to be able to use its building.
“The question remains – who benefits from destroying the temple, and depriving believers of a place where they can practise their faith on the basis of the Constitution of the Russian Federation?” Word of Life commented.