On the 13th November, the door of the Sankt Laurentius church in Langenhorn was set on fire by unknown perpetrators. A video of the crime was uploaded on the internet but it has been removed again. A vandal threw a Molotov Cocktail at the church and posted a video of the flames. The police opened an investigation with the video.
On Sunday, October 30, the rector of the Church of St. Andrew the First-Called on Vuoksa (Vasilevo village, Priozersky district of Leningrad region) contacted the police. He reported that unknown perpetrators tried to set fire to the structure of a wooden church. The fire burned part of the outer wall of the church. The vandals also broke down the gate to the bridge leading to the temple. The rector of the temple said that he had not had conflicts with anyone.
Between the 22. and 28. of October, the windows of the Protestant church in Urspringen were damaged by unknown perpetrators. An employee of the church filed a complaint for damage to property. She had found four small holes in the windows of the church. According to the police, the affected panes are at a height of three metres. The damage amounts to about 500 euros.
In the morning of October 27. a man vandalised the church of San Carlo in Lugano. First, holding a vase of flowers, he hit the protective glass of the statue of the Virgin above the altar. Then he used a candleholder to destroy other statues and objects in the church, including decapitating a plaster statue of Padre Pio. The sacristan's wife, assisted by another person, locked the intruder in the church and called the police. The sacristan, who arrived at the church shortly after, tried to stop the intruder, who then attempted to assault him.
In Budyonnovsk, Stavropol Territory, the Military Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation intends to open a criminal case against two members of the Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity for refusing to go to the war for religious reasons. If convicted, they could face prison sentences of up to three years. The two Christians, Sergey Tarasov and Maxim Drozdov were called under the mobilization decree on 24 September. As they objected for religious reasons, the commander refused their appeal.
On the night of the 25. Oktober, unknown burglars entered the Evangelical Lutheran Emmaus Church in Leipzig by smashing a window. They damaged parts of the furnishings and the organ room, causing considerable damage mostly to the sanctuary. Among other items, the altar cross was stolen, leaving toilet paper instead. The perpetrators also set fire to the church. The amount of damage could not yet be quantified.
After an emergency call on Sunday night (23. October), multiple police officers from the Leipzig police department went out on a large-scale operation including explosives experts and sniffer dogs. Someone had made a threat of a bombing a church. A 36-year-old man has been identified and arrested as the main suspect.
It was reported on the 20. October that the walls of the Sint-Elisabeth Church in Kortrijk were vandalized with crossed-out crosses and the word "F*CK" written with black spray paint. This is not the first time the church has faced vandalism. The pastor of the church, Guido Cooman, said that he is going to file a complaint with the police.
The Russian Embassy in Portugal denounced that Fr Sergiy Borsky, of the All Saints Parish of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Lisbon, "has received several threats to his life and physical integrity" and had been criminally attacked.
On the 17. October, the police in Lubasz were notified that an unknown vandal had severely damaged the statue of John Paul II, which was estimated at a loss of PLN 1,500. The 20-year-old perpetrator has been caught by the police and now faces up to 5 years imprisonment for the crime he committed. However, the final punishment will be decided by the court.
The European Court of Human Rights has recently concluded that Eloïse Bouton, a "Femen" member who performed a topless act simulating an abortion of Christ by the Virgin Mary in front of the altar and tabernacle of La Madeleine Church in Paris in 2013, has to be compensated. She had been sentenced by the French court to a one-month suspended prison and 2,000 euro fine for "sexual exhibition". She had also desecrated the altar of the church with urination and anti-Christian slogans and symbolism. With this ruling, a dangerous record of precedents is being created that will only encourage more blasphemous attacks on Christians.
In a Press Release on the 13. October, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) stated: “The internal rule of an undertaking prohibiting the visible wearing of religious, philosophical or spiritual signs does not constitute direct discrimination if it is applied to all workers in a general and undifferentiated way.” This means, now companies can prohibit workers to use religious symbols at work, including cross necklaces or headscarves. This will not be considered discrimination against religious groups, as long as it applies to all religions.
Two Russian Orthodox hieromonks (monks who are also priests in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism) had criminal cases opened against them for opposing the Russian invasion of Ukraine on religious grounds. Forum 18 is following the cases and reports that Fr Nikandr Pinchuk's first full trial hearing in Sverdlovsk Oblast is due on 17 October, while Fr Ioann Kurmoyarov, who is in pre-trial detention since early June, has his trial on 14 November in St Petersburg.
In May 2019, Dr. Richard Scott faced an investigation by the NHS England (National Health Service) after several complaints were made about him offering prayer to patients, as he discussed this practice during a BBC Radio 4 interview. Dr. Scott faced an investigation to see if he was fit for practice, but the case has now been settled between Dr. Scott and the NHS, as reported on the news at the beginning of October. He has agreed to attend a course about professional boundaries and at the same time, with no admittance of wrongdoing.
Monsignor Massimo D'Angelo of the diocese of Chieti, denounced on his Facebook account that a sacrilegious theft had taken place at the chapel of San Rocco in Sambuceto. "This night they stole from the parish by uprooting the security door and removing from the wall the safe with the gold votive gifts of St. Roch and some Chalices" he wrote.
Between the 7. and 8. October, unknnown perpetrators threw apples at the hexagonal baroque windows of a collegiate church in Klagenfurt. The police has to quantify the amount of the damage to property.
The UK's already controversial Public Order Bill has received an amendment proposal that would criminalize supporting women seeking an abortion within a 150-meter "buffer zone" from an abortion clinic. Apart from the fact that this would open the way for authorities to repress Christian street preachers, this amendment means that prayer or any kind of help inside the "buffer zones" could lead to an up to two-year jail sentence. Laws like this already exist in Northern Ireland since March, and will also be a reality in Scotland in the near future.
In less than twelve hours the town of A Coruña suffered two robberies in the local cemetery, affecting practically all the inhabitants. María Cambón, a neighbour who visits the cemetery every day, raised the alarm on the 10th of October, after discovering that someone had taken a number of bronze and copper virgins from the niches. Most of them were behind the glass doors of each tomb, in small chapels. In the afternoon of the same day, a similar robbery happened again. An image of the Virgen del Carmen was found lying on the floor of the cemetery, which the thieves probably left behind. In total, around 40 statues have been stolen.
After a fire on September 25, where arson has not been ruled out, media sources reported on October 6 that Belarusian authorities are terminating the Red Church's use agreement with the Roman Catholic parish community of St. Simon and St. Helen. Notice of this has already been received by the church authorities and the parish has been ordered to take all belongings from the temple within a few days.
It was reported on the 6th of October that Minsk authorities closed a religious school at the Catholic Christian Social Center of the city. Police were sent to the centre to check "whether there were any classes there", Radio Svaboda reports. According to Fr. Yuri Sanko, Minsk authorities ordered the social and educational parts to be closed on August the 30th.
A new report on "Hate Crimes Based on Religion, Belief or Nonbelief in Turkey" by the Freedom of Belief Initiative of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee describes the increasing problem of hate incidents against religious minorities in the country. These attacks target Christians, Jews, Alevis (a branch of Shīʿa Islam with some pre-Islamic influences, which is practiced mainly in Turkey), and atheists. The nature of the hate attacks varies between damage to property, threats, violent attacks against individuals, damage to places of worship and cemeteries, harassment, and insults. Some places belonging to religious communities have been repeatedly targeted.
A TikTok video shows how a large group of young people vandalize the Cathedral of Lugo – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015 – by climbing up and down its facade in a kind of competition. Earlier this year, in March there was another incident of vandalism at the cathedral, as three young men urinated on its facade. The damage done was estimated around 900 Euro by the police.
A new report was submitted to the Scottish Government on the 4th of October that could criminalize efforts by parents to mentor their children according to their beliefs, with the possibility of losing parental custody. Prayers and private conversations could also be criminalized. The report considers "conversion practices" as "any treatment, practice or effort that aims to change, suppress, and/or eliminate a person's sexual orientation, expression of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.".
In the city of Vöhringen, unknown perpetrators threw several eggs at the façade wall of the front side and the main entrance of the church in the Roselfelder Straße between 31 October and 3 November. After it was cleaned, not all residues could be removed, according to the police report, which estimates the damage caused at several hundred euros.
During the week of the 3rd of October, the Saint-Joseph chapel in Saint-Pol-de-Léon was vandalised by unknown perpetrators. The door was smashed with an axe and the cupboards were searched. The perpetrators also broke windows, dishes and kitchenware. Some electronic devices were stolen and the library was ransacked. On top of that, inside the tabernacle, the vandals smashed crucifixes and other sacred symbols. A case has been filed with the police.
On the Sunday night of October the 2nd, an unidentified person threw bleach from a balcony at the image of the Virgin of the Rosary when the statue was in procession near the Cathedral. The Local Police were immediately informed and are trying to identify the perpetrator of this hate crime.
A statue of the Virgin Mary was thrown into the garden of the parish of San Miguel Arcángel in Las Rozas, Madrid, on the night of the 1st to the 2nd of October. The parish priest, José Antonio Buceta Toro, denounced the act on Sunday morning and informed the police.
On the 2nd of October, a student was arrested in Montpellier after threatening to set fire to the church of Saint-François d'Assise. She said that she could not stand the noise of the church bells. The woman is said to have stormed into the church at the time of service (around 11.30 am) and threatened to set fire to the church, referencing what happened at Notre Dame in Paris. Given the aggressive behaviour towards the parish volunteers, she has been banned from entering the church.
At the end of September, two thieves entered the Church of All Saints of St. Petersburg in Kingisepp, Leningrad oblast, through the bell tower and stole two pectoral crosses placed on the altar. They were arrested. The youngest was also connected with a theft from a florist. A third protagonist who was on the lookout is also wanted.
During the night of September 30 to October 1, a recently refurbished statue of the Virgin Mary was broken and placed on a pole a little further away, in La Chapelle Thouarault, a township located west of Rennes, near the Hermitage-Mordelles station. The act aroused the indignation of the town hall and local residents.
In the district of Haselbach in Braunau, a sacristan was brutally beaten up during his evening prayers on the 29. September. The perpetrator has been identified as a 26-year-old homeless man from Romania. The perpetrator had asked the 87-year-old sacristan for money, who had given him some help before. This time, the sacristan refused and the young man decided to attack him. The victim was found by witnesses, who saw him severely injured and alerted the police.
Between September 25 and 28, unknown perpetrators forced open an entrance door of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Holy Trinity Church) and thus entered the church building. Inside, cupboards and donation boxes were broken open and an unknown amount of money was stolen from them. The damage to property cannot yet be quantified, reports the local police.
On September 27, a number of brass chalices and two big screens were stolen from the basilica of the Santissima Annunziata di Firenze in Montecosaro. The chalices are sacred objects that are used to celebrate Mass.
It was reported on the 27. September that the Municipal Committee of the Aragonese Party (PAR) criticised the vandalism caused to the exterior of the church of La Magdalena in Zaragoza. The exterior wall of the church is covered in graffiti that includes offensive expressions or insults against the clergy.
Belarusian Police banned New Life Church from meeting for dominical worship in the parking lot of the church building from which they had been forcibly evicted. On 25 September officials ordered the Belarussian Police to ban the Sunday meeting and detain anyone who did not leave, while pastors Vyacheslav Goncharenko and Antoni Bokun were detained and fined for having organized the 18 September 2022 service.
The position of an EU Envoy of Religious Freedom is still vacant. The position was left vacant for 2 years, until it was briefly held by Christos Stylianides from May to September 2021. He left the role, as he was offered a different position only 5 months later. In 2022, it was communicated that Mario Mauro would be confirmed as a new Envoy, but there has not been any further confirmation. On the 23. September 2022, Marco Gombacci wrote an Open Letter to Ursula von der Leyen questioning why the EU is not making the safeguarding of Religious Freedom a priority, given its "indispensable value for defining democracies and states under the rule of law".
A man of foreign origin, and known to the local police for numerous acts of theft, was arrested on September 23 at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in the Madonna Alta district of Perugia, while threatening the faithful and shouting in the place of worship, during mass. The man is also known for robberies against a church in the city. He has been referred to the police.
During the night of September 22-23, individuals broke the bottom of the door of the Chapel of the Virgin, in Via della Riotta in Novara, in the Italian Piedmont, and removed the Stations of the Cross from the wall to throw the stations into the garden of the chapel. The parish priest, Fr. Massimo Volpatti, filed a complaint and reported the incident on social networks - this small 17th-century chapel has no video surveillance. He also celebrated a mass of reparation and strongly denounced "a profane, serious, sacrilegious act" in the local press.
On September 21, a woman broke into the sacristy of the cathedral of Gorizia, an Italian city in Friuli on the border with Slovenia, with keys stolen last week, and looted it. Nevertheless she was detected by the cathedral's video surveillance and arrested a few hundred meters away. In her bag were chalices, patens, a custode, a baptismal shell and other consecrated objects - but all in non-precious metal. As well as a bag with other keys of the cathedral.
On the 20. September, a large-scale study was published by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI), which looks at the portrayal of faith and religion in the media. The study revealed there is a strong demand across the world for more news and media coverage about faith. It also shows that journalists and editors admit coverage of faith-related topics is rarely encouraged in the industry. The study had 9,000 respondents, including citizens, journalists, and editors from 18 countries and major religions. An important finding was that the general population feels that "media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them."
A 45-year-old man, was arrested in Chisinau, Moldova, at the end of September for stealing two bronze crosses, as well as a large bust of the deceased, from a tomb in the Saint Lazarus cemetery. He intended to resell them for 40,000 Moldavian lei (around 2,000€) and caused a damage of 8,000 lei on the burial site (400€). In Moldova the desecration of graves is an aggravating cause - he faces up to three years of prison.
The diocese of Jaén reported that on the 19. September, a robbery and a desecration took place in the parish church of Our Lady of Carmen. The perpetrators stole money from the lampstand and broke into the tabernacle. The consecrated hosts were scattered on the floor, which is what struck the community the most. The Bishop of Jaén, Monsignor Sebastián Chico Martínez, condemned the incident and asked all the parishes to worship a prayer of atonement during that week.
On September 18, the Sokolsk police received a report of damage to a shrine in Porajovo. The window of the shrine and the facade of the building were destroyed.
On September 18th, around 15:30 firefighters intervened after they received a report of flames escaping from the chapel of Our Lady of Liesse in Fleury d'Aude, where several fires were lit. Additionally, the church was vandalised with swastikas that were drawn onto the altar. The gendarmerie are still investigating to find the perpetrators.
On September 17, 2022, a mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Brig, Switzerland was disrupted by two pro-abortion activists. It was the day before the March for Life in Switzerland, and the sermon of the priest Fr. Edi Arnold was about the protection of life.
Satanist tags have been painted on the walls of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Zurich on September 17. On the same day, Bishop Marian Eleganti, former auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Chur, celebrated a mass there as part of the "March for Life", organized on the same day. The act was claimed by the anarchist group barrikade.info, to protest against the "March for Life".
A Scottish politician, John Mason, has been disciplined by party leaders at Holyrood after he showed support for pro-life activism outside hospitals. He was sent a written warning and was accused of causing women “great distress” for his remarks on abortion and buffer zones outside clinics. The news was reported recently on the 15. September.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has pronounced in favor of the legislation meant to limit pro-life activity around abortion clinics, which could lead to the creation of abortion clinic "buffer zones" across Scotland. The First Minister suggested that pro-life groups could protest in front of the Scottish parliament instead of gathering outside abortion clinics. A legal counsel for ADF UK, Mr. Igunnubole, warns that such laws do not possess a "reasonable excuse" to ignore basic tenets of the rule of law, such as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.
On September 13, 2022, local Polish media reported on the devastation of chapel furnishings in Łabiszynek. The unknown perpetrator destroyed the door and broke the glass in the windows of the chapel, broke wooden elements necessary for the service and tore off the heads of the figures of saints.
The Virgen de la Hiniesta, from the parish of San Julian, in Sevilla, suffered an attack on the weekend of the 10th of September. The statue was sprayed with bleach, causing significant damage to the garment. This was reported by the Brotherhood of the Vera Cruz and Charity of Brenes, responsible for the parish, on their social media.