Prisoners of Faith and their Families

We support the families of Christian martyrs; prisoners of faith and their families; Christians suffering oppression and violence; and Christians forced to flee.

In the first case of opposition experienced by the disciples of Jesus, the Apostles Peter and John were placed in custody – albeit only for one night (Acts 4:3). Peter is imprisoned again in Acts 12. The Apostle Paul is imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16) and the Book of Acts closes with Paul seemingly under some sort of house arrest.

Imprisonment may not be the most common form of persecution experienced by Christians today – but it is one of the most distinctive, and often brings with it harsh treatment.

Release International’s ministry was first established in response to the life and experiences of Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor who spent a total of 14 years in Communist prisons, from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. During his time in prison, Wurmbrand was regularly tortured, either for information about other Christians, or in an attempt to force him to renounce his faith.

Today Release International is active in around 30 countries around the world, working through Christian partners on the ground to support those who are persecuted. In a number of these countries imprisonment is a constant threat – and a real experience – for Christians. China, North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and Eritrea are currently prominent examples.

In his hugely influential book, Tortured for Christ (published here in the UK by Release International), Richard Wurmbrand wrote:

“When a Christian goes to prison – and often to torture or death – the suffering only begins. The family suffers endlessly. I can state for a fact that if rank-and-file Christians in the free world had not sent me and my family help, we would never have survived to write these words!”

Recognising this reality, Release International today continues to support Christian prisoners of faith and their families.

Release International partners provide pastoral and practical support both for those in prison and their loved ones. In many situations the imprisonment of a Christian pastor can leave a family destitute, with no means of income. Through our partners Release International provides vital support to those in need.

Richard & Sabina Wurmbrand in later life.