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October 2000

An American Episcopal priest fulfilling a lifelong dream of working in Russia was found stabbed to death in his Moscow apartment August 24. Russian authorities said the Rev. Steve Charles Malcom, 49, had been dead for almost a week when his body was discovered. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy would not give a possible motive for the killing, but said that audio and video equipment was missing from Malcom’s apartment.

Malcom had lived in Russia for three years as an English instructor and tutor. He had spent the month of July teaching in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, some 2,600 miles east of Moscow.

In his homily at Malcom’s funeral, Nebraska Bishop James Krotz told of visiting a nursing home in Nebraska City with Malcom. “The people pressed on from every side to speak with Steve and touch him,” Krotz recalled. “As we walked down the hall, doors would open and wheelchairs would roll and hands would reach out.

“They pressed on from every side, the lame, the halt, the lonely, and also the young, the healthy, the staff. And Steve had a word, a touch for each and all. To walk down that hallway with Steve was to know what it must have been like to walk with Jesus through the crowds of His homeland. Walking down that hallway with Steve was one of the richest, most humbling moments of my 27 years of ministry.”

Malcom was born December 21, 1950, in Lexington, Nebraska, the oldest of four children. He graduated from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary at Evanston, Illinois, and was ordained in 1986. He served in several Episcopal parishes in Nebraska, as a curate at St. Andrew’s, Omaha, from 1986 to 1988, and as rector of St. Mary’s, Nebraska City, from 1988 to 1998. He left St. Mary’s on an extended sabbatical to live and teach in Russia. (Episcopal News Service)

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The outbreak of religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria over the adoption of “sharia” (the Islamic legal system) in some states has spread to the nation’s military ranks. Killings of Christian soldiers and nonmilitary personnel have been reported in Lagos and Kaduna. On April 30, a Muslim soldier shot to death two Christian soldiers while the three were on guard duty. The shooting incident was reportedly triggered by an argument over the propriety of the introduction of sharia. This is the third time this year that Muslim soldiers at the Lagos Garrison Command have attacked Christian soldiers. In Kaduna, some Muslim military officers were reported to have attacked Christians during the February 21-24 and May 22 religious crises in the city where hundreds died. The Kaduna state police commissioner expressed concern over the involvement of military officers in the conflicts and disclosed to journalists that police uncovered the use of sophisticated military weapons during the crises of February and May. (Compass Direct).

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Twenty pastors from various church denominations were among the hundreds of Christians killed during the two religious crises that occurred in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna city in February and May. Among the pastors killed were Rev. Fr. Clement Ozi Bello, 26, a Catholic priest; Rev. Aniya Bobai of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA); and Rev. Bako Kabuk, along with Pastors Paul Chikira, David Maigari and Adamu Seko, of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

Father Bello came from a Muslim family. His father is a Muslim, and his mother had converted (to Christianity) shortly before the priest’s ordination. Fr. Bello was the only male Christian in his family.

Rev. Bobai was killed in his church’s pastorium. He was attacked by a Muslim mob, killed, and his church, the ECWA Unguwar Dosa, was set ablaze.

The pastors with the Nigerian Baptist Convention were killed at the Kaduna campus of the Baptist Theological Seminary as they attempted to defend the school. (Compass Direct)

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