School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Mindy Damon


Persecution, Iron Curtain, Worship, Martyr, Communism, Cold War


Christianity | History of Christianity | Liturgy and Worship | Religion


Despite detailed accounts of religious persecution faced by evangelicals behind the Iron Curtain, many narratives are incomplete, and therefore, the understanding of the extent persecution impacted the worship of believers is limited. With more Christians today being persecuted for their faith than ever before, it is important for believers in America to understand what happens in the lives of their Christian brothers and sisters when they face persecution. By comparing the religious practices of these evangelicals before, during, and after the lifting of the Iron Curtain, the differences in corporate and individual worship as a result of persecution become evident. Worship that was initially characterized by its fervor, evangelism, and outreach was restricted to the church walls. As a result, discipleship was limited, Christians became inward-focused, and there was a greater concentration on depth of personal spirituality. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, perestroika, and the end of the Cold War, there has been much more religious freedom in the countries where evangelicals were once persecuted for their faith. However, Christians in other parts of the world are still being persecuted in record numbers. By understanding how persecution changed the worship of evangelicals behind the Iron Curtain, Christians in America can know how to better assist these believers, recognize the signs of religious persecution in their own country, and be prepared in case they find themselves in similar circumstances.