|Cathedral closed until further notice|
St Paul's to pray for Iranian Pastor facing death penalty
11 April 2012
St Paul’s is dedicating tomorrow’s 12.30pm Eucharist to Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor facing a death sentence for apostasy, to mark his 35th birthday.
The service will be led by Canon Mark Oakley of St Paul’s Cathedral. The Reverend Stuart Windsor, Special Ambassador for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), will lead a special intercessory prayer for Pastor Nadarkhani during the service.
Canon Mark Oakley said: "12 April is Yousef's birthday and it is right that as we celebrate the day God gave him life, so we pray that this same beloved life will be saved from torture and execution. When one brother or sister in Christ suffers, all suffer. Our concern for Yousef and his family will be voiced under the dome of St Paul's and at the same time we call on the Iranian authorities to mercifully release this prisoner of conscience and to uphold both Iranian and international law in securing the equality and human rights of all Christian people in Iran."
Reverend Stuart Windsor said: "On behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani, his family and church, we would like to thank St Paul’s Cathedral for dedicating this service to him. We have seen a swell of global support for the pastor in the past six months, with Christians worldwide joining in CSW’s month of prayer for him ending on 12 April. We continue to call on the Iranian authorities to lift the death sentence, grant his immediate release and follow due process, ensuring respect for the right to freedom of religion. Pastor Nadarkhani’s case is likely to set a precedent for how such cases are treated in future and CSW remains concerned for the welfare of a number of Iranian Christians in prison who could face a similar fate. We encourage the Church worldwide to unite in prayer for Iran’s Christians at this time of intensified persecution.”