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Port-au-Prince: Death, Kidnapping Threats rock Haitian Mission, Priest forced into Hiding

For over a year, what some media are calling a "kidnap-for-ransom crisis" and "kidnapping explosion" has been terrorizing the citizens of Haiti. This crime spree, which culminated in the assassination of the president last July and subsequent street battles between armed gangs and the government, has not spared the ROCOR Mission, including physical assaults against parishioners. Most alarmingly, the Mission’s senior cleric, Archpriest Jean Chénier-Dumais, has been forced into hiding as a result of repeated death and kidnapping threats.

In an appeal to the whole Russian Church Abroad, the widowed Matushka Rose Legouté shared some news from the suffering country, which just last August was hit with a 7.2 earthquake:

"​​​​​​​The administration of the Haitian Mission wishes to inform all of our hierarchical superiors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia that Fr. Jean Chénier-Dumais, representative of the Haitian Mission, has for several weeks been receiving many serious threats to his life by phone. People will call night and day to demand a ransom to guarantee his life, or else face any number of violent consequences. His house was attacked on Wednesday night this week (September 29): two projectiles were fired directly at his house, one smashing the glass of his bedroom window and damaging the wrought iron, the other piercing his water tank, as a result of which the roof and his house were flooded. Currently, Fr. Jean remains in hiding; he is obliged not to use his telephone. Given the severe situation of lawlessness existing in the country and the justice which hardly exists, there are good reasons for him to worry. I went to see Fr. Jean a month ago; he was very anxious and you could see it in his physique.

"The unstable and dangerous situation has touched everyone; last Sunday (September 26), early in the morning, armed bandits attacked a Baptist church in the heart of the capital; they kidnapped several members in full service and killed a deacon who was preparing to save his wife from being kidnapped; as a result, her husband died before her eyes, and the gang demanded a ransom of $100,000. They released the lady after a few days of collecting ransoms.

"It is terrible what we are living through in the country. I do not even go out to see my doctor. Yesterday evening, nobody was able to sleep in Fontamara with the war of armed men and the police, automatic weapons even shaking the house. The situation is more than terrible, ten people can be kidnapped in a day, and those who resist are killed on the spot; it is a very serious time. Help us in your prayers, especially for the protection of Fr. Jean. He is in danger."

Please pray for the Haitian Mission, all of our clergy and faithful!

The Fund for Assistance to ROCOR is raising money for the Mission in a matching fund via PayPal.

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Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia