No religious activities beyond state-run and controlled institutions are allowed in Tajikistan. Historical Christian communities such as the Russian Orthodox Church, which makes up the majority of Christians in the country, are largely tolerated by the regime, which doesn’t see them as a threat as they tend not to reach out to Tajiks. However, registering non-Orthodox or non-Catholic Christian groups is effectively impossible, making all religious activities carried out by these groups technically illegal.
In 2022, the government announced that no new churches could be registered. Church services are often disrupted and Christians risk harassment and arrest for holding private prayer meetings or possessing “illegal” religious material. Children are prohibited from participating in public religious activities.
Christians who come to faith from a Muslim background can face additional pressure from their family and local community to renounce their faith, based on the belief that a true Tajik can only be Muslim.
Meet a church leader
“The good news is that, despite all the prohibitions, the Church in Tajikistan is growing in numbers and, God willing, will continue to grow.”
A Tajik church leader.
What does Open Doors do to help?
Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in Central Asia by providing Bibles and Christian literature, biblical and vocational training, medical and social care, socio-economic development projects, and children’s, youth and women’s ministries.