Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Two elderly pastors arrested in Eritrea and a third placed on house arrest - Open Doors UK & Ireland
26 July 2021

Two elderly pastors arrested in Eritrea and a third placed on house arrest

There have been yet more arrests of Christians in Eritrea. Two pastors have been arrested and a third placed on house arrest. All three are in their 70s and from the same church in the country’s capital. 

alt text (e.g. name of person in image)

Eritrea is number 6 on the World Watch List; Christians in the country face extreme persecution for their faith

Your prayers are needed for three elderly pastors from Eritrea. Last week, two were arrested and a third placed on house arrest. They are all part of the Full Gospel Church in the country’s capital, Asmara.

Pastors taken during middle of the night

Pastor Ghirmay (75) and Pastor Samuel (74) were taken from their homes in the middle of the night to an unknown location. Police also intended to arrest Pastor Georgio (72) – who has previously spent five years in prison – but when they found him sick in bed, they told him he was under house arrest until he is well enough to be taken into custody. 

Eritrea is number 6 on the World Watch List. Despite almost half of the country’s people being Christians, those not from state-approved denominations face extreme persecution. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), Catholic Church and Lutheran Church are the only Christian denominations recognised by the government. 

The arrests part of a bigger trend

Last year, the government began releasing detained Christians. However, arrests continue to take place. In June, two Christian men were arrested in Asmara, and in March alone, 30 believers were detained in Asmara and the south-eastern city of Assab. Local sources estimate that Christian prisoners number anywhere between 600 and 1,200 Christians – with none formally charged.

In June, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Eritrea called on the Eritrean government to release those imprisoned for their faith ‘immediately and unconditionally’. You can read more from Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Commission – and get the observations of Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors’ work in sub-Saharan Africa – here

Christians imprisoned in Eritrea are forced to live in inhumane conditions and are even subjected to torture. This is what could be facing the two pastors recently arrested. Please be in prayer for them, and all other believers in the country unjustly detained for following Jesus.

Please pray
  • For the Lord’s strength and courage for the three pastors, and healing for the pastor who is sick
  • For the release of the pastors and all other believers currently detained 
  • For those tasked with overseeing care for believers in the pastors’ absence, that they will feel the Lord equipping them for service. 
Among the Ashes

Explore Among the Ashes, a new film and prayer resource for churches from Open Doors. It looks at how the biblical principle of lament can bring us hope and comfort, even in the darkest situations.


Find out more

Share this story

Get involved

Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.