Home Christian News UPDATE: Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski Compares Arrest To Soviet Tyranny

UPDATE: Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski Compares Arrest To Soviet Tyranny

Pawlowski is well known for his opposition to COVID-19 health guidelines, including masks, social distancing, limits on gathering sizes, and vaccines. He helped organize a public protest in Calgary earlier this year, and his church has engaged in several altercations with police and health officials. Pawlowski is unapologetically defiant of pandemic health measures, often referring to those who enforce them as “nazis.”

Neighbors and residents of Street Church, of which Pawlowski is pastor, have also accused church members of harassing and threatening them. Pawlowski has firmly denied that these reports. 

Pawlowski was previously arrested and charged in May 2021 for holding in-person gatherings that violated COVID-19 health requirements. During that arrest, Pawlowski called the arresting officers what sounded like “Gestapo-psycho-bots” or “Gestapo-psychopaths.”

Pawlowski’s arrest on Monday afternoon was for the outstanding contempt of court charge related to his arrest in May. In video of Monday’s arrest, Pawlowski can be seen peacefully refusing to listen to police officers’ verbal commands, but he was taken into custody without incident. He had announced his return to Canada a day prior, tweeting the details about his flight via private jet. 

Pawlowski had previously been spending time in the United States, attending and speaking at events. In August, he was violently attacked by Antifa protesters at a prayer and worship event in Portland, Oregon. 

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Pawlowski Addresses Supporters

In an apparently pre-recorded statement released by Rebel News, Pawlowski addressed his supporters. He said, “If you are watching this video right now, that means I’m in jail and they successfully arrested me. I don’t know what is going to happen to me. I don’t know what is happening outside. But I hope that you are still with me and you’re willing to support me, to get me out of this terrible, hard situation.” 

Pawlowski encouraged supporters to pray for him and to donate funds for his legal defense, thanking them for helping him “get out there and be the light in this dark world.” 

While many American and Canadian evangelicals are supportive of Pawlowski and see his arrests and charges as religious persecution, others have been critical of his words and actions. Alberta Pastor Rev. Ray Matheson has argued that vocally defiant pastors like Pawlowski and James Coates are not experiencing persecution. To Matherson, they are facing legal challenges for “not showing respect” to civil authorities. 

A bail hearing was subsequently held on Monday evening, and Pawlowski was released from police custody.

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Dale Chamberlain (M.Div) is the Content Manager for ChurchLeaders.com. He is also a blogger and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings. He lives in Southern California with his wife Tamara and their two sons.