On November 26, a 29-year-old man from Syria disrupted the Sunday Mass in Vienna's St. Stephan Cathedral. According to media reports, he repeatedly distrubed the liturgy, jumped over the fence around the main alter and screamed loudly. On November 27, the same man returned to the Cathedral and threatened the security guards inside the church with a screwdriver, making signs that he wanted to cut their throats. The police arrested the perpetrator close to the church venue.
Today, on the International Day of Tolerance, OIDAC Europe presents its new Annual Report 2022/23. The report finds an increase of anti-Christian hate crimes by 44% over the last year. Arson attacks on churches increased even by 75% between 2021 and 2022. OIDAC Europe’s annual report also found legal discrimination against Christians who expressed traditional Christian worldviews.
On November 23, Keplerkirche St. Johann in Vienna was vandalized. Witnesses had seen a man who had allegedly tore a statue of the Madonna from an anchorage in the church and stole a wooden cross. Based on the witness statements and video surveillance footage, the police were able to identify the perpetrator. The 29-year-old Syrian man was found near the church and arrested. He will be charged with aggravated damage to property and theft. The stolen cross was returned to the church. The same perpetrator attacked the Viennese St. Stephan cathedral a few days later (see case from November 26, 2023).
On 23 November 2023, an Algerian man armed with a knife attacked a group of children outside Gaelscoil Choláiste Mhuire, a private Catholic primary school. As a result of the attack three young children and a care assistant who tried to protect the kids were stabbed. A five-year-old girl was critically injured and remains hospitalised in critical condition. The assistant, who received multiple stabs, is also in a serious condition.
A church in Klostergasse in Ichtershausen, Germany, was forcibly broken into and damaged. Several doors were broken open, rooms were searched and approximately 10,000 euros worth of property damage was caused. Multiple instruments were stolen as well. The crime occurred between November 17 at 3 PM and November 20 at 10:20 AM. The police are still investigating the incident.
The door to Our Lady and St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Ballymoney was set on fire on the night of November 19. Police were notified shortly after 9:45 pm that the side door of the church was on fire. Officers attended to the fire and were able to extinguish it before significant damage was caused. The police are investigating the incident as a deliberate arson attack.
The Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur in Rouen was broken into on November 15. The parish priest, Father Geoffroy de la Tousche, said that a statue was broken, sacred vases were stolen, and the altar was severely damaged. This is not the first case of vandalism in Rouen, as gargoyles had been damaged last year. The priest said that the damage will cost tens of thousands of euros. The police are investigating but the perpetrator has not been found.
Unknown perpetrators damaged an altar crucifix and stole a Jesus figure from the Imperial Cathedral in Königslutter on November 14. The individuals entered the cathedral via the main entrance, which was open, and went to the altar area. They removed the crucifix, moved it to a less visible area in the church, and severely damaged it. They also stole a figure of Jesus that was attached to it. The police are investigating the situation, and the perpetrators have not been caught.
The Finnish appeal court has unanimously upheld the 2022 acquittal and dismissed all charges against Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola who had been on trial for having publicly expressed their Christian beliefs. The ruling, which is now final, is considered to be a victory for freedom of religion and expression.
A man devastated the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Scandiano, causing thousands of euros worth of damage. He vandalized the walls, furniture, and statues, including breaking off the head of a statue of Mary. The individual destroyed sacred objects and broke open the tabernacle to throw the host on the ground. The police were able to identify the perpetrator. The 53-year-old from Modena was consequently reported for aggravated damage.