Thien An Monastery Targeted by the Government Ordains a New Abbot

06/11/2021 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – On June 21, Thien An Monastery in Vietnam will ordain their new abbot. The monastery is located in Hue City, Vietnam. It has been targeted by the provincial government for land expropriation for the past forty years.

Occasionally, the government sends mobs to attack the monks and priests at the monastery to harass them. The latest incident of violence against the seminary occurred last August. On August 25, 2020, government-led land-grabbers seized part of the monastery’s land called Cross Hill in Thừa Thiên Huế province, just two weeks after a group of protestors had visited the monastery to threaten the monks.

Every year, the government uses different tactics to sell more of the land belonging to the monastery to tourist companies, steadily denying the Catholic community their clergy and their religious freedom. Local police are doing nothing to protect the monastery.

The ultimate goal of the Vietnamese government is to kick out the monks and leave the 70,000-person Catholic community without clergy. Its former abbot-elect was not allowed to return to Vietnam after his medical treatment in Europe. Recently, priests and monks of the monastery were able to elect a new abbot. The upcoming ordination of this new abbot serves as a powerful message of encouragement to the Catholic community and a defiance of the governmental intimidation the monastery has been facing.

ICC sent a note to the monastery on June 8th, congratulating them on the appointment of their new abbot. In the note it reads, “We are well aware of the hardships and challenges your monastery has faced for the past years. In fact, we reported on the persecution you experience on our website.”

The note continues, “We hope to show you solidarity and our support as you welcome a new leader as your shepherd. May God grant him wisdom, patience, joy, and strength he needs to serve the faithful. Congratulations!”

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