All cases

Russia: Two priests on trial for opposing the war in Ukraine

October 10, 2022, Russia

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.

Repeated Vandalism to a church in Spain

October 10, 2022, Spain

The mayor of the municipality of Ponte Caldelas, Andrés Díaz, has denounced through his social networks several acts of vandalism committed in a Chapel of the town. In the photos he posted it can be noticed that the saints of the church have been painted black as well as signatures that the vandals left all over the building.

Christian Doctor Faced Pressure After Offering Prayer to Patients

October 9, 2022, United Kingdom

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.

Sacrilegous theft in church Italy

October 9, 2022, Italy

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.

Two Men Disrupt a Mass celebration in Poland

October 9, 2022, Poland

On October 9, 2022, a thirty-nine-year-old man disrupted the celebration of evening Mass at St. Francis Church in Zabrze. During the Eucharist in progress there, two men entered the church, with one of them immediately heading toward the altar. Then, in front of the priest celebrating Mass and the gathered faithful, he set off a firecracker. Panic broke out. As a result of the situation, the faithful began to leave the church building in panic. It was determined that no one was hurt as a result of the incident.

Several Baroque Church Windows Damaged by Vandals in Austria

October 8, 2022, Austria

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.

UK Christians' Right to Freedom of expression Threatened in upcoming Public Order Bill

October 7, 2022, United Kingdom

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.

40 bronze Virgins stolen from a cemetery in Spain

October 7, 2022, Spain

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.

Spanish Observatory for Religious Freedom Takes Legal Action for being Hacked after Releasing Annual Report

October 6, 2022, Spain

The Observatory for Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience (Observatorio para la Libertad Religiosa y de Conciencia) has reported on its social media that it has denounced the hacking of which they were victims last October 6 during the presentation of the "Report of attacks on religious freedom in Spain 2021".

Belarusian authorities take Minsk's Red Church from Catholics

October 6, 2022, Belarus

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.

Minsk authorities close the Catholic school of the Catholic Christian Social Center

October 6, 2022, Belarus

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.

Report: concerning rise of hate crimes against religious minorities in Turkey

October 4, 2022, Turkey

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.

Cathedral of Lugo Vandalized by Young People and Posted on TikTok

October 4, 2022, Spain

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.

Scotland: proposed “conversion therapy” ban gravely affects parents' rights and religious freedom

October 4, 2022, United Kingdom

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.".

Vandals Throw Eggs at Church in Germany

October 3, 2022, Germany

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.

Extreme Vandalism to Saint-Joseph Chapel in France

October 3, 2022, France

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.

22-year Old Man Strikes and Spits a Woman Inside the Church

October 2, 2022, Germany

On Sunday 2nd October, a 22-year-old man entered the church in Würzburg and lit a zigarrette inside the church. When a 59-year-old woman approached him and reprimanded him for his behaviour, he suddenly struck her and then spat on her. The young man then ran away and is being searched by the police for physical aggression and hurting religious sentiments.

Bleach thrown at an image of the Virgin of the Rosary during a procession in Spain

October 2, 2022, Spain

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 torn down in Spain

October 2, 2022, Spain

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.

Student threatens to set church on fire in France

October 2, 2022, France

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.