On 25 January in the evening, a jihadist terror attack targeting two Catholic churches took place in Algeciras, Spain. Y. K., a 25-year-old Moroccan, has been arrested as the sole perpetrator of the attack, which he executed with a machete. An altar server was killed, and at least four persons are injured, including a priest in serious condition. Several witnesses indicate that he conducted the attack while shouting "Allah is great" and "death to Christians".
The NGO ADF UK posted a video of two community safety accredited officers in Bournemouth interrogating a veteran who was standing on the street alone, praying in his thoughts. The officers told Adam Smith-Connor that he was praying inside a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) space, for which he was fined. According to the PSPO, certain activities such as acts of "disapproval" towards the abortion facility in the area are prohibited. Adam is at least the second person who was fined for praying silently on the street. He told the officers he was praying for his deceased son, which they considered an "act of disapproval".
An unexpected shooting occurred in North London on January 14. at the St Aloysius Roman Catholic Church. The 22-year-old suspect drove and shot 6 people who were coming out of a memorial service inside the church. The victims were a 48-year-old who has severe life-threatening injuries; a 12, 21, 41, and 54-year-old. A 7-year-old girl was also injured and was in serious condition. The police department detained the suspect for questioning after his car was found parked on Sunday. It was also mentioned that the bullets came from a black Toyota C-HR.
on the 10th of January, the online news source MK-Online reported a rise in anti-Christian hate speech and vandalism in Bavaria. The most recent incident was red graffiti on the Cathedral of Augsburg that said "F*ck Jesus! He would have wanted it this way". The historical church dates back to Roman times. The reasons behind the perpetrator's actions are still under investigation and the cost of the damaged property lies around a couple of hundred euros. Other cases have been reported in Munich, where the Jesus figure was stolen. In an Augsburg Catholic Church perpetrators threw eggs and left insulting graffiti on the wall against the Word of God.
In the city of Halberstadt, a form of pyrotechnics were used to destroy church property at the Lüttgenfeldstraße, amounting to 5,000 euros in damage. Around 3:45 a.m. unknown persons threw crafted explosives over the fence of the church and caused damage to a nativity play which was handcrafted with plastic and wood. The explosion also caused damage to the façade of the church and a window. The police are seeking witnesses to find the perpetrators.
The police in North Kerry are investigating an act of vandalism against a church in Ballyduff. Three young women entered the St. Peter and St. Paul church and set fire to the altar cloth. The incident happened on the 30th of December, during the opening hours of the church. Detectives are investigating the motive behind the incident. The altar cloth did not go up in flames, so the damage was not extensive.
In the town of Barbera del Valles, thieves "kidnapped" the figure of the baby Jesus from the open-air nativity scene on the 28. December at night. They then posted a video on social media with covered faces and distorted voices demanding a ransom of 10,000 euros for the precious figure. According to Spanish media, the city council of the town expressed the hope that it could be a sort of prank. But this is not the first theft of the small figure from the Nativity scene in the church square.
Unidentified person(s) have caused several damages inside the Catholic Provost Church of St Trinitatis in Leipzig. On the 27. December in the afternoon, he rioted in the church, threw various books around and damaged the nativity figures. The damage was estimated at a three-digit amount by the police.
On the 25. December, while 30 people were celebrating mass in a small wooden church in Rautjärvi, a fire broke out and the faithful had to be quickly evacuated. The historic Evangelical church was completely destroyed by the fire that started at 8.30 am. The criminal commissioner, Mika Salminen said in a press conference that the side doors of the church had been attacked with ropes. There is no doubt for the police, that this was a willful attack.
ADF UK reported that a charity volunteer has been arrested and charged with four counts after telling the police that she “might” be praying silently in her mind, after being questioned by them over why she was standing inside an abortion facility’s censorship zone. The arrest and charges took place as authorities consider criminalising prayer near abortion facilities nationwide in the new Public Order Bill.
Between the 18th and 18th of December, unknown vandals tagged the walls of the church of San Giorgio in Golino, Canton of Ticino, with satanic and anarchist symbology in black paint. A complaint has already been made by the parish. The damage was noticed by the sacristan the next morning.
On 19 December several tags with insults, anarchist and nazi symbols appeared on several doors of Saint Roch's church in the centre of Paris. "A few days before Christmas, scandalous inscriptions were left on the church of Saint-Roch", wrote the mayor of Paris, Ariel Weil. He commented that a complaint had been lodged at the police and that the cleaning of the building had started.
A video was uploaded on Youtube on the 17. December of a man that destroys a Nativity Scene with a hammer in the Spanish city of Calahorra. He has already been arrested by the police.
A German court in Minden has declared that the "decision to ban worship services was illegal" as "the measure was 'disproportional', not founded in the law for infection prevention and violated the freedom of religion severely." The case referred to the total ban on public worship passed by the municipal council of Lage, a small town in the state of Lower Saxony, during Easter 2021.
After some months of debate, the Congress of Deputies (the national parliament lower house in Madrid) recently passed the new abortion law. This law breaches human rights for parents and medical staff alike, as it allows minor girls 16 and 17 years old to undergo an abortion without parental consent. Also, the freedom of conscience for medical staff is under pressure, as doctors who opt-out from this procedure for conscience reasons will be placed on a list of "conscientious objectors" and removed from the medical committees that decide over a woman's claims of malformation or illness of the foetus that want to abort beyond the limit of the first 14 weeks.
The statues of Joseph and Mary were found beheaded at the Nativity scene in Schaffen (Diest), on 14 December. It happened in broad daylight, in the afternoon. According to local residents, it is not the first time vandals have struck at the nativity scene.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Bulgaria for a 2008 governmental campaign to warn children and families away from Protestant churches. This came after in 2021, Pastor Tonchev and Pastor Kiryakov in Burgas, challenged the government's campaign that labelled Protestant Christians as "sects"and told children at schools that they should not attend such churches.
The vicinity of the Parish Church of São Francisco, in the parish of Real, in Braga, has been the target of vandalism and graffiti. Also a signboard in São Bento da Porta Aberta was found destroyed on 12 December.
The Ngo Forum 18 reports that on 12. December, "armed Russian soldiers broke into the home of Serhiy Karpenko, Pastor of the Vefil (Bethel) Protestant Church in Berdyansk." The Russian forces took him away in an unknown direction. The Berdyansk News Online also reported this on its Telegram channel the same day. According to the news channel, local residents said "soldiers had also searched the Church and allegedly found Ukrainian symbols."
Between December 9 and the 13th, the buildings of the St. Nikolaus church and an elementary school were smeared with graffiti and anti-Christian slogans in Konz. One writing said, "God is dead, we killed him", while other symbols were tagged such as pentagrams and inverted crosses. The police have proof from the CCTV cameras of two unidentified perpetrators who entered the elementary school grounds and graffitied the walls. However, the persons are yet to be identified.
A tag with the words "Gora ET(A)" appeared at the door of San Marcos' parish in Sevilla on 6 December. The meaning of the painted slogan in Basque language is "long live ETA", in reference to the Basque separatist organization ETA, classified as a terrorist group by Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the European Union.
Urine and excrement were found in the two stoups at the entrance to the Church of Sant'Adiutore in Cervinara. This was revealed on Sunday mass, by the parish priest of Cervinara, Don Renato Trapani. All the churches in Cervinara are also open at night so that those who want to gather in prayer freely at all hours can do so without restrictions. The priest showed his sorrow, inviting those in the know to come forward to shed light on this episode.
On the night of 2 to 3 December, unknown persons defaced the walls of the hermitage of Santa María La Antigua of Carabanchel with graffiti, one of the tags containing the Anarchist Ⓐ and an upside-down cross. This 13th-century Mudéjar temple is the oldest building constructed in Madrid.
In the period from Friday, 2 December, to Saturday, 3 December 2022, the altar cloths were burnt in the parish church in Bauler, according to the Bitburg police department. The perpetrator or perpetrators, who are as to date unknown, lit all the sacrificial candles and then also the altar cloths, some of which burnt down, causing material damage, according to the police.
On 1. December Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had signed the decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC). This instructed the government to submit a bill "on the impossibility of religious organizations affiliated with the centres of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine" to the Verkhovna Rada. Although this is a political decision conveyed during a war period, the way it is put into practice could gravely affect religious freedom in the country.
"No God, No State, No Patriarchy" was sprayed on the walls of the Breitenfeld Church in Vienna in a vandalic attack that took place in late November. An eyewitness sent the picture to OIDAC Europe.
Derek Timms, a chaplain from Solihull, was told in September at the Marie Curie charity’s Solihull branch, that he must not wear the cross as it might "offend’ and "create barriers" with patients. He was also told that he would face consequences if he did not remove the cross, which was a symbol of his faith but also a memory of his late wife. After receiving legal support, Mr Timms received an "unreserved" apology letter from the Marie Curie charity's regional head office.
Unknown perpetrators traced a big blasphemous writing on a votive crucifix at via Chiesa Rossa in Milan. "Now there is no limit to the vandalistic drift, we are seriously concerned. We ask for a stance from the institutions," said vice-president of the coordination of Milan committees, Fabiola Minoletti, quoted by Milano Today.
At the end of October, a draft bill was approved by the Council of Ministers to ban so-called "conversion practices" against LGBTQ+ people. The bill was carried out by the Minister of Equality Opportunity Secretary, Sarah Schlitz. The adoption of this specific bill will allow the ban to take effect immediately. While the protection of victims from abuse and manipulative practices is extremely important, the bill could threaten religious freedom, as the Minister affirms she wants to ban "ALL forms of conversion therapies". Given that there is not a clear definition of what counts as "conversion practice", the bill could ban simple prayers and private conversations among Christians.
On 17 November a man tried to set fire to the wooden fence of an Orthodox church on Kavkazskiy Bul'var in Moscow. He was arrested nearby by law enforcement officials. He claims that he went for a walk with a can of petrol, then emptied it on the fence for no reason and set it on fire. Pending his trial for "vandalism", he is under house arrest and released under judicial supervision.
The former football player Vasilios Tsiartas was sentenced this November to 10 months in prison for a comment made on Facebook in 2017 where he stated that “God created Adam and Eve” in response to a bill for the redefinition of gender identity. On his Twitter account, he has stated that he will appeal the sentence.
Unknown persons entered the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Monterone, on the 16th of November. They enacted numerous acts of vandalism, destroying and stealing sacred furnishings and iconography. In particular, the perpetrators detached and carried away an ancient wooden crucifix later found by police inside a heavily damaged garbage can. According to the sources, the form of desecration and damage indicates that it might have been a satanic motivated attack.
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.
Police officers in Cerignola, Foggiano, arrested a 32-year-old immigrant man responsible for damaging the church and setting fire to the door. He also insulted the religious denomination. As he was confronted, he resisted and injured a public official. During a patrol, police officers noticed the flames in front of the main door of the church of San Domenico and the perpetrator running away with a canister probably containing flammable liquid.
CNE News reports that YouTube has banned a Norwegian prayer channel called "Kanal 10 'We pray for you'" for allegedly violating the social media guidelines under the category of "online spam, deceptive practices and fraud." Øyvind Rygg, the general manager of Kanal 10, says there are also no economic interests in the program. "We were told last week Monday that if we continued to broadcast the prayer program, YouTube would block us. That means that they are ending our entire channel on YouTube", told Rygg to Dagen.
On the 7th of November, it was reported that the cross was stolen a few months before from Montesano Cathedral. The cross was taken from the hands of the statue of St. Rita. Now it has been recovered and the thief has been detained.
The Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia "Orskoye" of the Orenburg region completed the investigation of a criminal case on charges of a 31-year-old citizen of the Republic of Tajikistan of stealing money and setting fire to a building of the temple complex of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul of the Orsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in the city of Novotroitsk.
The Church of St. George in Bor was ransacked, and thieves took the money that the faithful left in boxes under the benches. They also broke several icons in the church. Furthermore, they broke into the church's souvenir shop and took all the money they found there. The police are looking for the perpetrators.
An employee of the parish had unlocked the 700-year-old house of worship on Wednesday morning (2.11.2022), 8 o'clock. When he returned to the church around 11 a.m., he noticed that several stacks of brochures on a table in the church were on fire. "It was only by chance and the quick and courageous intervention of a church employee that the church in Helmstedt did not go up in flames". The regionalHeute.de news source reported the incident.
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.
On the morning of October 30, the police were contacted by of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Churachiki, who discovered the loss of silver jewelry from a casket in a church shop and an opened donation box. The attacker entered the temple by breaking a window.
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.
On October 27 a 61-year-old man set seven buildings on fire, included the local church, in Dyula, a Ukrainian village near the border with Romania with about 1,500 inhabitants. He was later arrested and faces up to 10 years in prison.
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.
In the period from October 25 to October 26, unknown persons broke into the parish office in Neuendorf in the district of Harz by forcibly opening the office door. They subsequently stole a safe containing cash, several chalices and monstrances, with a total value of about 11,000 euros were stolen from the storehouse of the parish office.
On October 25, unknown vandals broke the crucifix at the entrance to the village of Pryvitiv in the Zhytomyr region and damaged the crucifix, according to the press service of the Zhytomyr diocese. The rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (UOC-MP), Fr. Alexander Litvinyuk, said that the cross had been installed by the care and guardianship of the community of this temple, located inside the village.
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.
On the 22. October, vandals entered a church in Nidda (Germany) and threw down hymn books, damaged candles and spilt candle wax on the altar and on a Bible. The damage of the church took place during the opening hours in the afternoon and the damage amounts to about 150 Euros. The police in Büdingen are asking for information from witnesses.