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.
During an evensong service in the Shrewsbury church of St. Chad's, vandals smashed the stained glass widows of the church causing £8,000 in damage, and endangered those inside. The incident happened on the 15th of May at a church which often holds large events. Church warden Joanna Hepper said: "This was extremely upsetting for the congregation and could have caused injury."
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.
On the morning of April 14, the cross in Ribalta Park was found vandalized, painted with the colors of the Republican flag. The vandalistic act was perpetrated by the far-left group Antifascist Brigades of Castellón, on the anniversary of the proclamation of the Second Republic in Spain. In July 2021, the City Council of Castellón wanted to remove the cross due to its "Francoist Past", applying the Historical Memory Law, but the Christian Lawyers appealed and the judge of the Contentious- Administrative number 2 of Castellón ruled that no action was to be taken against the monument until the appeal was resolved.
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."
Five young North Africans in El Vendrell were bothering people during a Palm Sunday procession in hopes that they could prevent the religious event from happening. The local police were notified of the attacks and arrested two 24-year-old individuals who were accused of an attack against the law. The police were searching for the other three.
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.
On the 6th of April, the Spanish Senate approved an alteration to the Penal Code, in order to "punish the harassment and intimidation of anti-abortion activists of women who go to clinics to voluntarily interrupt their pregnancy". This modification, which could lead to 3 months up to 1 year of imprisonment, was endorsed by the Socialist Party of Pedro Sánchez, the Prime Minister. It was approved by Congress and enters into force when published in the Official State Gazette.
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.