On May 14th, a man and woman broke open the door of the Henstedt-Ulzburger Kreuzkirche and vandalized the inside. They tried to set the carpet in front of the alter on fire, which went out, and they damaged knee cushions and hymnals. The property damage was not yet calculated but the police were notified and wrote a complaint to the Norderstedter detectives who investigated it.
The Chaplaincy in Pau was the victim of an arson attack on the 12th of May. The fire was started on the ground floor of the presbytery of the church of Saint-Pierre and it was obvious that the tabernacle was deliberately targeted as it was charred. The consecrated hosts were not burned but the police also noticed thefts of a computer and some money.
On May 10th, a church on Kirchstrasse in Romsthal was the victim of an arson attempt. The criminals set fire to several parish letters under a stool and burned some prayer texts near the altar. In addition, they knocked over an offering box, and some candles, and spread the wax over the floor. The fire was out by the time it was discovered and the property damage was around 150 euros but could have been much more. The police were looking for witnesses.
On May 8th, vandals forced their way into the interior of the Santa Croce church in Lomellina. There, they damaged the the votive candle lighting system and ransacked the priest's office. No valuable appeared to be stolen but extent of the damage had not been properly assessed.
Between February 24th, when Russia first invaded Ukraine, and May 7th, there have been 116 spiritually significant buildings destroyed. 91 of these buildings were Orthodox churches while the rest, were Mosques, Synagogues, Catholic and Protestant churches, and buildings of religious organizations. Most of these ruined sites were in the regions of Donetsk, Kyiv, and Kharkiv. The war in Ukraine has caused a divide, especially in the Christian Orthodox Church which has led Russia to ban the Ukraine Orthodox Church and Ukraine to attempt a similar ban on the Russian Orthodox Church.
The churchyard of the San Rocco church in Ruvo di Puglia, was vandalized on May 6th by unknown perpetrators. Diesel was sprinkled around which caused damage to the sidewalk and floor. Municipal councilor Mariatiziana Rugliani thought the cameras may be able to help identify who did it. He also said of the incident: "An ignoble act, a meaningless disfigurement to a sacred place and to those who lovingly guard it."
The evangelical church in Vöcklabruck, Austria, was vandalized on Friday the 6th of May. Three lights on the pathway outside the church were kicked over, and notices, brochures, leaflets, and prayer books were scattered all over the inside of the church. The microphones were damaged and the offering box was broken open from which money was then stolen. The amount of damage was not entirely clear but the police were investigating.
The outer walls of the parish church in Mautern were sprayed with Nazi symbols on May 6th. Once the police had the relevant details, they were able to identify the perpetrators who were brothers aged 21 and 27 from the Leoben district. The property damage was significant. One graffiti reads "F** Jesus".
A report titled "Persecution of minorities on the grounds of belief or religion," was adopted by the European Parliament in Brussels on May 4th. It has since been called “openly hostile towards religion” by human rights experts since it in places points to religion as a threat and a driver of humanitarian crises. It also failed to mention the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, but states that "sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including abortion, are being banned in the name of religion." Although the report had some positive points it did not always refer to religion favorably.
In the last weeks of April, there were several thefts of sacred objects from churches in Tuscany. The carabinieri in Florence identified a Romanian individual who was behind most of the crimes as after his home was searched, a number of these items were found including paintings and statues. The police were investigating the crimes to find a possible accomplice.
On May 1st during a trade union demonstration, a group of leftist activists - also identified as Antifa - attacked parishioners in front of the Notre-Dame des Victoires church in Angers. The group went by the name of "the Angevin Anti-Fascist Network (RAAF)." The parishioners were attending the 11-hour Mass, while others had positioned themselves in front of the church to prevent attacks. The mob still threw paint on the building and squashed eggs on the ground. They shouted "homophobic slogans" and later returned with a banner directed at Catholics that read, "We are here to challenge those who are dedicated to deifying themselves." The police had to intervene to stop further violence.
Between May 1st and 2nd, burglars broke into the St. Mary's Church in Hamm and stole around 100 euros from the donation box. They forcefully entered through a window and once inside, searched the sacristy and then looked through cupboards which they had violently opened. The property damage was around 500 euros and the police, who were investigating the crime, needed more information.
Ignacio “Nacho” Gil Conesa, a well-known Spanish "tikToker", has been attacked by other influencers for being Catholic. He goes by the name Nachter, and a few months before May 1st, he devoted his time solely to making humorous videos about typical things that happen in the house. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, he said "there are other influencers who have attacked me for being catholic," a situation he described as "ridiculous."
On the night of April 28th, a sentence was written in red paint on the Parish Church of Santo Stefano in Piozzo. It read: "The Nazis create poverty to take away freedom." The perpetrator(s) remain(s) unknown.
The St. Nikolai Church of Glindenberg was devastated on April 28th and had to be closed as a result. The inside of the church was devastated: the altar cross was torn off as well hymn books were left in the streets with their pages torn out. The police were looking for the perpetrators.
Satanic graffiti appeared in the St. Vincent church in Graz on the 28th of April. The word Satan, upside-down crosses, and the Antichrist number 666 were painted with red spray paint on the walls and altar of the church. The vandals also sprayed an angel's face red and burnt a bible. The Priest, Wolfgang Pucher commented, "It's just unbelievable."
Jim Ryan (64), and his wife Ann (59), were both fined €300 for travelling 70km to a Mass on Easter Sunday when there was a 5km limit for non essential travel during lockdown. They have since appealed their sentence but have also said they will go to jail rather then pay. Jim told the Sunday World "I have no intention of paying them a fine for me going to Mass - for doing what I have done my whole life."
On April 27th, it was discovered that three of the windows on the Remigius Church in Albersdorf were damaged by thrown stones. Two had holes in them and one was cracked with the damage amounting to around 3,000 euros. There were no leads to the perpetrators and the police were looking for witnesses.
Scottish ministers said they plan to explore options of mediation with pro-life activists regarding "buffer zones" around abortion clinics. According to minutes from an abortion "buffer zone" meeting in February, the Centre for Good Relations asked for engagement “with all interested parties, not just those who are directly involved with the conflict itself." The ministers were criticized for their plan which aims to understand “the issues and perspective from all sides."
In 2018, a Pakistani national who had converted from Islam to Christianity requested asylum in Switzerland but was rejected by the authorities. Despite them recognizing his conversion, The Federal Administrative Court rejected the request; however, upon taking the case, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in favor of the applicant. They held that articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR would be violated should he be sent back to Pakistan.
A man was seen on video, on the 26th of April, urinating in the churchyard of Sant'Agostino in Trani. Judging by the stench, others have done the same thing which eventually causes lasting damage to the walls that then have to be repaired. This man obviously had little respect for this sacred sight.
The windows of the St. David's Church in Newtown were smashed by vandals on April 25th. It was not known who did the act and someone who was closely affiliated with the church said it was "absolutely disgusting to see yet again," which implies that vandalism similar to this has already occurred.
Three teenagers entered the Magherafelt Catholic church on the 23rd of April and, after verbally insulting the priest, damaged several objects. Officers then arrested three suspects aged 11, 13, and 15, for a number of charges including criminal damage, as they smashed a vase, threw the Bible and other holy books around, and damaged a microphone. They appeared in court, for what the police called a hate crime, and two of them were banned from entering the Magherafelt area while the third still awaits trial.
The Spanish General Council of the Judiciary's (CGPJ), warned that the LGBTQ+ draft law proposed by the government would violate the rights of women, parents, and religious persons. The law seeks to allow minors to change their sex after the age of 12 without submitting a medical or psychological report and after the age of 16, parental consent would not be needed. Christian parents would not be able to raise their children in line with their beliefs and women's spaces and women's sports could be jeopardized.
The Grosseto Cathedral was raided by a masked man with a hat and gloves who fled with several items. On April 19th, he entered the Cathedral and took a brass candlestick from the altar, and then smashed the glass of the shrine that holds the ex-votos that people offer to Madonna with an awl. Some policemen, who were nearby, ran after him so he dropped the candlestick but held on to the votive offerings of devotional value.
A Statue of Christ in the church of Addolorata in San Salvo, was thrown to the ground and smashed on April 18th. The author of this act of vandalism appeared to use an object to break the statue into tiny pieces. The parish lodged a complaint.
On Saturday the 16th of April, a man entered an Easter church service in the Church of St Panteleimon and shouted Arabic phrases into a microphone. Video footage showed the priest trying to calm the congregation and the offender was later arrested by the police in Athens.
Over four consecutive nights, ending on April 15th, vandals have visited the St Patrick’s Church in Hartlepool and caused thousand of pounds of damage. They broke around a dozen stained glass windows and left the inside fo the church covered with masonry ruble.
The Way of the Cross on Mount Kalwaria in Jerzmanowice was completely destroyed by unknown persons on April 16th. The larger crosses were cut down with a saw. Their supporting ropes were cut while the smaller ones were smashed with an ax. The head and feet of the Mother of God figure were broken and statues of saints were destroyed. This was only part of the damage which the mayor, Tomasz Gwizdała, described as a profanation.
An Easter procession on Holy Thursday had been going for about an hour and a half when objects began to fall on those attending. This occurred while the procession was going through Cuesta del Chapiz but luckily the police were quick to take action and a disaster was prevented. This was the second attack on Easter processions in Spain during the Easter week, both of which showed targeted discrimination of Christians.
76-year-old Rosa Lalor was arrested on February 24th, 2021 as she did not have a "reasonable excuse" to be outside at the time. This was despite her explaining to the police officer that she was "walking and praying," and daily exercise was allowed. The officer accused her of not praying in a house of worship and fined her £200 after detaining her in a police car. She challenged this fine and has taken it to court with the help of ADF UK.
Anti-Catholic tags appeared on a church in Gràcia, Barcelona on the 12th of April. This time, the Sant Joan Church received the abuse which was, among other things, the words "Church and patriarchy, criminal alliance 8M" scrawled on the wall in black. Councilor of Valents in Gràcia, Jordi Daura, wrote on Twitter: "It is an absolute disgrace the constant lack of respect for the Church by bigots. We will demand that the insults are cleaned up."
To the shock of all, four statues of Mary were destroyed on the 11th of April, three in Lewniowa and one in the neighboring Gnojnik. The statues were quite near the Church of Our Lady and made of concrete so it definitely took considerable force to break them. Artur Seniuk, the mayor of Lewniowa, said: "It is sad, especially that it happened before Easter."
The façade of the Sant Vicenç de Sarriá church in Barcelona was graffitied with pro-abortion phrases on April 11th. In specific, the words, "out rosaries of our ovaries" were written by the unknown author. Eva Parera, mayor of the Catalan capital said, referring to the perpetrator, "They do not respect anything. Neither life, nor faith, nor public space." and, "These attacks not only do not scare us but reaffirm us in our defense of freedom and truth."
A statue of the Virgin Mary, and another of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, were destroyed around the the 11th of April. They were from a chapel in Kietrz and Marek Czechowicz, who found them, said it appeared that the Statue of Mary was entirely smashed and that the other one had a brick thrown at it. The police began an investigation and the perpetrator could face up to 2 years in prison.
After the Helsinki District Court disregarded all charges against the Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen on March 30th, the prosecutor has filed an appeal. Räsänen said “I had hoped that the prosecutors would have settled for this ruling … [But] I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in all necessary courts, also in the European Court of Human Rights.” Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland was also prosecuted for distributing a pamphlet that Räsänen wrote regarding the Bible's views on gender and marriage.
Don Guido Panella, the priest at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Marsala, was physically and verbally attacked by a homeless woman on April 9th. Before this, a homeless man had entered the church and was yelling at everyone until the priest gave him a euro and he left. He then returned with two others, including the woman, and they began shouting at people and the woman even slapped the priest. Two police officers then arrived on the scene at which point the men left but the woman remained and was taken by the carabinieri.
A man was arrested on April 8th for planting an explosive device at the Saint-Etienne cathedral in Toulouse during Mass. The man, who has a criminal record, dropped a package in front of the altar then pushed the sacristan, said something, and left. The explosive was never fired but the congregation was evacuated to make sure no one got injured.
On Friday the 8th of April, a cross made of bronze was stolen from an Augustinian church in Mainz. A nun noticed that the cross was missing from the altar and, upon reviewing video, the police were able to recognize a 51 year old man who had previously stolen goods. They were then able to locate the cross, along with three alter candles, and return them to the church. The man was convicted of the theft.
The Redeemer church of Halstenbek was the victim of a targeted attack on April 8th that left the church a mess. The rioters destroyed alter candles, scattered sand in the worship place, burned pages of the Bible, and took metal letters from the "song display." Due to the severity of the act, police were investigating and wanted witnesses who might be able to give them information about who committed the crime.
New DIY abortion laws in the UK, allow for women to have an abortion without seeing a medical professional; but, by simple talking, and then ordering pills over the phone. This raised serious concern for the health of women and the possibility for minors to abort without properly consulting a professional or their parents before starting something that could traumatize their lives. Parental rights are violated in this case, which is especially problematic for Christian parents who would not agree with their child taking such actions.
Youth have been asked to show more respect to the All Saints Church in Holbeach, after they tore lead off its roof and threw marrows at its doors on April 5th. This was the second time this has happened in a month and the acts forced Mick Boylan, the church warden, to consider reducing the hours the church is open to hopefully prevent the crime. He said "They don’t have respect for anything. What do the parents think they are doing?”
Russian troops vandalised a large cemetery near Mariupol on March 4th by repeatedly driving over crosses and tombstones with tanks. The necropolis is one of the largest in Europe and those who witnessed the event called it sacrilege. The cemetery was entirely destroyed in this unnecessary, sacrilegious, and inhumane destruction.
The Reformed Church in Muri-Gümligen was attacked with a Molotov cocktail on the night of April 6th. No one was injured but the property damage was high. The intent of the attack is somewhat unclear but since the church was lit up with blue and yellow lights, an anti-Ukraine motive was suggested. Whatever the case, a religious sight that is sacred to many was subjected to a hateful act.
On April 4th, the Madonnina Church in Trinità was once again vandalised. This time, unknown perpetrators entered the church and set the prayer sheets and offering box alight. In the past, the church has been tagged with graffiti and a nearby bench was defaced. The mayor Ernesta Zucco said: “I wonder what they can have against this modest church. I have no more words but these facts cry out for justice. We really can't take it anymore."
The Evangelical church in Zell was vandalised by strangers on April 4th. A large window was smashed by an object of considerable size and shingles were torn off the façade. The Church filled a complaint and the police began an investigation with the hope that some DNA would be left on the shingles.
The façade of the Church of Sant'Eligio in Napoli was once again scarred by fire on April 4th, less than three months since it happened last. The monumental sight, which youth set fire to, dates back to 1270 and would have experience even worse damage had a fire extinguisher not been nearby. These repeated acts of arson show the youths contempt for the church and its Christian practices.
A 51 year old man has been arrested for repeated thefts of churches since February, in the area of Pontine. He was caught red handed by the Carabinieri of the Minturno station as he was trying to open the offering box in the San Biagio church which he had stolen from previously. His wife was also charged for assisting him in their repeated and disrespectful thefts from Christian churches.
The outer wall of the church of Santa Lucia Vergine e Martire in Messina, was covered with graffiti on March 2nd. Most of the inscriptions targeted the police but a religious sight was used to carry out the offence. Father Giovanni Loppolo was happy to tell how the youth of the church had initiated the restoration project.
The windows of the Protestant church in Weingarten were smashed on April 2nd, causing 1,500 Euros worth of damage. The perpetrator was unknown but police investigated the incident and were looking for witnesses. A Facebook user commented on the incident: "People experience in such a place unique moments of life, joy, care, comfort, silence, protection, community, a connection to the Creator since time immemorial. People respect this place regardless of their faith and worldview."
A priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was kidnapped by unknown persons in the Cherkassya region of Ukraine. A video showed that people broke into the service, and violently took the pastor. Those who tried to stop the kidnappers were also violently dealt with. The exact date of this incident and the well-being of the pastor was unknown but it was thought to have happened in Smela. This showed a continued attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox church.
Perpetrators, whose identity is not known, vandalized the parish church in Dreis-Brück on April 1st. They distributed, what was thought to be alcohol, in the gallery, and the tablecloth on the altar was burnt. The police were looking for clues as to who could have done it.
Stones were thrown at a picture of Christ in Via Merlo in what could only be described as a hateful act. The incident happened on March 31st and resulted in the glass that was covering the picture getting broken. The vandals also stole candles and flowers and left inscriptions around the sight.
Two religious paintings and tens of euros were stolen from the Santissima Annunziata church in Marian San Nicola on March 31st. The money was from the offertory which got damaged during the theft. Don Saji, the parish priest, reported the incident to the carabinieri who were investigating it.
Boris Johnson announced on March 31st that the so-called conversion therapy ban in the UK would no longer cover transgender people but only gay or bisexual people. This was a change from what had been announced a few hours earlier which was that the ban would be dropped entirely and non-legislative methods would be explored. Despite the entire ban not being dropped, this was still good news for the Christian community as this potential legislation would make it difficult if not impossible, for parents and teachers to encourage their children to adopt the Bibles views on gender and marriage.
During the night on March 30th, the Gleschendorf Church was robbed by unknown persons. The perpetrators stole valuable communion objects including a 300 year old baptismal bowl. This unfortunate event demonstrated a disrespect for the church and its proceedings.
The Laurentius Church in Satrup was vandalized with paint on March 30th. The façade was covered with phrases written in black paint which expressed contempt for the church and now have to be taken off by a specialist company.
Law makers were ordered, by Sergei Aksyonov head of Russian-controlled Crimea, to draft a law banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Black Sea Peninsula. The working list was planned to be finished by the end of the week, at which point, it would be adopted by parliament. This reflected the tension which existed for a number of years in the Orthodox Church, but saw a resent rise as the war developed.
On March 30th, the Helsinki District Court unanimously dismissed all charges against MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola in a major freedom of speech victory. Päivi Räsänen was prosecuted for sharing her faith based beliefs on marriage in a tweet, and Juhana Pohjola had published a pamphlet, by Räsänen containing these beliefs, 17 years earlier. The ruling of this high-profile case stated that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts," ordered the prosecution to pay the legal costs of 60,000 EUR, and gave the prosecution seven days to appeal.
On the 30th of April, an antique silver cross was stolen from a church in Barlassina. The cross, which was kept in a small box that was forced open, was of little monetary value which makes the theft particularly sacrilegious. Investigations were underway to find out who committed the theft.
Sergey Chudinovich, an Orthodox priest from the church of Serhiy Chudynovych in Kherson, was kidnapped on March 30th. Three men, who claimed they were police officers, searched the documents of those present and then drove off with Sergey Chudinovich, who was said to be a well know public figure. He is one of the many religious leaders who has been abducted in Russian occupied areas of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 21st, 59 religious buildings have been badly damaged by Russian attacks in 8 different regions. The Ministry of Information Policy and Culture of Ukraine reported that most of these building had been Orthodox Churches while others were synagogues, mosques, and religious education institutions. The Kremlin claims to "protect Orthodoxy" but these statistics tell a different story.
A ciboria and chalices, both of which were in the sacristy or tabernacle, were stolen from the Couhé church on March 28th. Consecrated hosts were also taken, which implies the perpetrator was targeting the celebration of the Eucharist as hosts can be sold for high prices in some satanic circles. The theft of these objects of worship was a hateful attack on the religious traditions of the church.
On March 27th, a cross made of cast bronze was stolen from the crypt of St. Michael's church in Fulda. It was not known who did it but the police were investigating.
The letter Z, a pro-Russian symbol of war, was painted on the Gethsemane Church in Würzburg on March 27th. The congregation responded with a prayer for peace and the parish priest, Anna Bamberger, condemned the act. The perpetrator, who used this place of worship to advocate a war, was not found.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a ban on all limits on abortion as they may violate the rights of "women, girls or other pregnant persons." Among these proposed policies, was one that would limit medical professionals' rights to refuse to take part in abortion for conscientious reasons. These targeted Christian doctors who, for religiously based moral reasons, are unable to assist in an abortion and would face consequences if countries were to act on this guidance.
An unknown thief ransacked several rooms in the church of Walsum-Aldenrade, and stole the money box from the choir community on March 26th. The bathroom window was pried open to gain access to the building but few clues as to who did it have been found. The police were notified and are looking for witnesses.
A 22 year old man was detained in Luban for the burglary of a church, and church buildings, on the 24 of March. He damaged the door of the sacristy and broke windows to gain access to the other church buildings where he stole property left there. He was responsible for 11 thefts in all, some unrelated to the church, and was put under police provision and banned from leaving the country.
In the UN Human Rights council's Universal Periodic Review of Greece on April 23rd, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), encouraged Greece to provide alternative religious classes for students who were not Orthodox Christians. They said that there should be a class for all major religions in Greece and the Orthodox Christian class should be optional, as should all the other religious classes. This would increase the religious liberty of all denominations but also that of other Christian religions and especially parents of alternative religions.
During the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Greece on April 23rd, a World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Advocacy Officer, denounced the Greek law which prohibits proselytization. This law prevents Christian religions or otherwise, from attempting to undermine the religious beliefs of others. Although rarely applied, this law could hinder religious discourse and a Pentecostal was sentenced using this law.
Unknown thieves broke into the St. Nicholas Basilica of Bari and stole valuable items from the St. Nicolas statue within. They took a book with three silver balls and a cross with some precious stones. From the other hand, they took a golden ring with some stones and an old necklace. This statue has become a symbol of peace in the last weeks, due to the Ukraine war, which made the theft especially malicious. The theft occurred on 22. March.
Release International has reported that Alexsander Glushko, the pastor of the Light of the World Evangelical Church of Mariupol, has been arrested by the Russian military. He was believed to have been taken to Dokuchaevsk, which is close to Donetsk, but no further information has been given about his wellbeing. Other pastors homes near Mariupol have been searched and the "hunt for pastors has begun in areas now under Russian control."
An independent investigation found that there was no substantial evidence for Worcester College's apology and cancellation of the Wilberforce Academy in September of 2021. After hosting this Christian youth conference that seeks to uphold free and considerate debate about controversial issues, this Oxford College said it had received "a number of complaints" and would not hold the event next year. Christian Concern inquired about these complaints, which they had heard nothing of, and upon getting little response, instigated their own investigation.
Dmitry Bodyu, the American - Ukrainian pastor of the Word of Life Church, was taken from his house in Melitopol, Ukraine by Russian soldiers. His wife Helen explained how 10 soldiers walked into their house, questioned them about their nationality, and then took her husband along with their electronic devices and other documents. This was the second pastor, that we know of, to be abducted by Russian troops.
Almost all of the Stations of the Cross in Wettenhausen have been violently vandalized by unknown persons on March 18th. The police estimated that the damage was around 150,000 Euros but with the cleanup would probably end up being more. The deliberate attack on sacred Christian symbols demonstrates a complete lack of respect.
Around the 8th of March, several Anti-Christian graffitis appeared in Vienna. The home and office of Gerhard Labschütz, a pro-life Catholic, were painted with anti-Christian tags by unknown vandals. The graffitied epithets read: "here lives a Christian fundamentalist" and "abort fundamentalists." Mr Labschütz is also the managing director of the Catholic-based Austrian Cartell Association (ÖCV), the offices that were also targeted by the perpetrators. Similar tags were found outside the offices of two other organisations: "Fairändern" and the "Lebensbewegung" (ÖLB).
In the church of San Leopoldo in Albinatico, a candlestick for votive candles, and the offerings donated to the church, were stolen on 17. March. The thief, also inserted some lighted candles in the candlestick next to the special seats where the electric candles are usually put. When the parish priest Don Paolo Monti entered the church, he found that the lit candle was bending over and catching an electrical candle alight which he said could have started a fire.
The sacristy of the St. Bernhard church in Angelmodder was ransacked by unknown vandals who stole and broke sacred objects. The thieves broke through a window made by the famous artist Johannes Schreiter and stole chalices, destroyed a monstrance, and broke into a safe. The damage and theft of these sacred objects was reported to the police.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has warned of the religious oppression that Ukraine will experience under Russian control. They have recorded the increasing religious intolerance in Russia over the years and are concerned for the societal consequences that will undoubtedly ensue. Several religious buildings have already been damaged in the shelling along with the arrests of religious leaders and those attending prayer events.
The police were called after the St. Cuthbert's Church in Wells, Somerset was vandalized on March 16th. A door was damaged and glass was broken but no one has been found yet. After viewing some CCTV footage, the police have a man they would like to question.
The enclosure wall of the Saint-Marie-Saint-Michel Chapel in Grenoble was tagged with hateful messages on March 16th. The inscriptions included the phrase: "Here homophobic racists" with an arrow directed toward the door and where the word "Civitas" was also written. The incident was reported to the police who started an investigation.
For the past 15 days, the Koekelberg basilica in Belgium has had cobblestones thrown through its windows by young teenagers. Other vandalism and disrespectful acts have been done at this sacred sight in the past but the recent escalation was evident. The director general, Martine Motteux-Abeloos, regrets how little the police have done and will hold talks with other leaders about potentially closing the sight to the public.
Robin Walker, Schools Minister in England, told the House of Commons' Education Select Committee that schools would continue to teach LGBTQ+ content. This came in response to Conservative MP Miriam Cates who said "you cannot change sex" and that she often got concerns from parents that their children were being transitioned in school. This posses a problem for Christian parents and children who may disagree with such teachings on a religious basis.
Anastasiya Parshkova was detained but not charged, on March 15th for holding a sign that had: "The 6th commandment: Thou shalt not kill" written on it. She was wearing a headscarf and stood for five minutes outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior before she was arrested and taken to the Khamovniki police station. She said: "despite my fear, I decided that this must be done."
Evangelical ministers have faced a severe backlash after signing a letter to Liz Truss which expresses their opposition to the governments upcoming conversion therapy ban. Consequentially, they have had to take down the list of signatures which was published on the Ministers' Consultation Response website for fear of more acts of discrimination happening. It had collected 5,000 signatures from ministers and church leaders.
The SNP in Scotland have advocated for legislation that will make it a criminal offence to not "affirm" someone's preferred gender and make it illegal for parents to "refuse to support" their children in taking puberty blockers. This legislation would prevent people from legally holding to their religious beliefs on issues like gender and infringe on parental rights by not allowing parents to educate their children on sexual matters in a way they deem appropriate. The latter would disproportionately affect Christian parents who may have religiously grounded sexual guidelines.
The Saint-Martin de Tours church in Courcoury was targeted by a thief who stole consecrated hosts on March 14th. The tabernacle was broken into and a lunula, which contained a large consecrated host, was taken. The Bishop of La Rochelle, Mgr Colomb, commented on, "this act of pure hatred and denounced a very serious sacrilege committed against Christ and against his Church". He called in a "new blow of the spear in the side of Christ." An investigation was launched by the police.
On March 12th, the Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Oxford was looted by unknown individuals who damaged the holy alter and stole other religious items such as crosses, and altar vessels. They also broke open the church safe and stole a collection of money that was intended for Ukraine. The police were investigating the crime.
The two wooden side doors of the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Lissone were set alight by an arsonist in the night of March 10th. The attack looked like the work of "Nerone", someone who has done repeated attacks of a similar nature to churches in the area. Necessary investigations were carried out by the Carabinieri the next day.
Rev. Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was arrested after he gave a speech that condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. His speech, given in the Karabanovo village, was said to “discredit(ing) the use of the Armed Forces” reported the BBC. His name was also on a public letter signed by 285 Russian Orthodox priests which called for an end to the war.
The Swedish Minister of Education, Lina Axelsson Kihlblom, announced the next step in the Social Democrat's plan to ban private religious schools. It will impose stricter regulations on schools that require them to report all religious activities and principals will have to pass "democratic conditions" to have their position. These new regulations have been introduced in the "democracy clause" and were justified with the need for "democratic control" of education.
The website of the Stanley Road Baptist Church in Morecambe, Lancashire was suspended by its host firm Torrix since the pastor signed an anti-conversion therapy letter. This letter was addressed to Liz Truss, whose governmental department will be dealing with proposed legislation to ban conversion therapy. Matt Fletcher, the Torrix proprietor, said he cannot support anything that opposes the LGBTQ+ movement. Rev. Hewitt commented his sadness for this development, but still expressed gratefulness for the working relationship they had with Torrix.
Stephen Donnelly, Irish Minister of Health, announced that the government plans to draft legislation regarding safe zones around abortion clinics before the Dáil summer break. This proposed law aims create a 100 meter zone around abortion facilities in which people cannot protest. This will severely restrict peoples freedom to express their beliefs on this issue, especially Christians who tend to hold pro-life views.
On March 8th, the façade of the Santissima Annunziata church in Turin, was defaced with anti - Christian graffiti by feminists during National Women's Day. The floor and steps were covered with purple paint that condemned the "patriarchy" of the church. This act showed an apparent ignorance to the role Christianity has played to improve the rights of women.
The St. Bernadette church in Montpellier, has once again been tagged with anti - Christian phrases such as, "the only church that illuminates is the one that burns". There have been a series of vandalistic attacks to this church and churches in the Montpellier area but no one has been identified despite an investigation launched by the national police.
The Beverwijk Mennonite Church was the victim of a vandalistic attack on March 8th. The intruder succeeded in kicking a chandelier from the ceiling but due to the lack of surveillance, was not caught. This location has also become a drug trafficking sight and cameras would help prevent that as well.
During the night of March 6th, burglars force their way into the St. Joseph Hospital Church and stole the key to the tabernacle. To do this, they broke through a wooden door and pushed open the door of the sacristy. The tabernacle holds the sacred hosts which shows this was a targeted act.
Four mothers of soldiers were detained for praying for peace in Ukraine at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. They, along with 100 other soldiers' mothers, were attending the regular evening prayer when the officers followed them into the main Orthodox cathedral of the city and after the service, demanded their documents and then took them for questioning. They were taken to the Central District Police Station and were released four hours later.
MLA's in Northern Ireland voted in support of a bill that will create "safe zones" around abortion clinics despite 98 percent of the 6,412 public submissions expressing strong opposition to it. This proposed legislation, from Green Party leader Clare Bailey, will make it illegal to “influenc[e] a [person seeking an abortion], whether directly or indirectly” within “safe access zones” reported the Right to Life News. Christians who hold pro-life views will find it difficult to freely express them under this proposed legislation.
Father Maksym Kozachyna, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was killed near Ivankiv on March 3rd when the Russian troops were advancing. He was in uniform at the time and an eye witness said he was pulled out of a car and shot. The Russian military has often targeted religious leaders during their invasion.