A 30-year-old man from Tajikistan has been arrested in connection with the terror warning for Cologne's Cathedral. Shortly before Christmas, the German police had received indications about a planned terrorist attack on the Cathedral. The police presumes an Islamist extremist motive. Cologne's Cathedral has been closed outside church service hours due to security concerns since Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, street cameras caught a group of people damaging the nativity scene on the sqaure of Uboldo. The figures were "furiously kicked, punched and beaten". Someone also sat on the cradle and damaged it. The Major has announced that appropriate action will be taken.
Austria has increased security measures over Christmas due to threats of Islamist terror attacks. The suspected targets should have been Vienna's Cathedral and a few other churches. The Tajik man arrested in Germany was allegedly part of a terrorist group discovered in Vienna. The police is suspecting an Islamist terrorist motive and a connection to the ISIS-K (Islamic State - Khorasan Province). Although the suspect fled, a few other suspected terrorists, namely a man from Chechnya, another Tajik man and a woman from Turkey, were arrested before Christmas. The fugitive was arrested in Germany and is awaiting extradition to Austria.
On December 23, three juvenile residents vandalised a church in Gostynin, Poland. The walls of the church was spray painted in blue. The tags show insults and possible slogans related to Catholicism. A police investigation was launched and the vandals were identified thanks to the city surveillance.
On the 23rd of December, it was reported that a statuette of the nativity scene in the church of Valdagno was stolen. Now, the crib will be secured behind bars. The thieves stole the statue of a priest holding a monstrance and by doing so they also damaged the door, some pews and the steps to the entrance door, where another statue was ripped off. The police were notified.
Between December 23 and 30, three figures were stolen from the nativity scene in St Anthony's Church in Amberg, Germany. In addition, a fourth figure was completely smashed. The police are asking anyone with information to contact them.
St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Södertälje, Sweden, was the target of a raid on 20 December. Intruders gained access through a window leading to a room used for various ceremonies and stole valuable items with great sentimental value for the community. “We didn’t expect this. We are facing an empty altar before Christmas,” said Alexander Sharoyan, the church’s representative. A police investigation has been initiated.
On December 20, a fire destroyed the nativity scene in the parish church of Brentonico, Rome. A woman raised the alarm when she saw the church was completely filled with smoke. The parish priest, Don Daniele Laghi, suspects arson, as the nativity scene had already vandalised a few weeks ago. The police have opened an investigation to establish the facts.
Between December 19 and January 3, unknown persons broke and pulled down several headstones in the graveyard of Saint Eunan's Cathedral in Raphoe, Ireland. Some were broken, other stones were pulled out of the ground. Local police are appealing to anyone with information about the vandalism.
A German High Court rejected the claim that the presence of a cross infringes on the religious freedom of the plaintiffs. On December 19, the Federal Administrative Court of Leipzig dismissed a lawsuit against a Bavarian decree (Kreuzerlass) from 2018, which required the display of crosses in public institutions "as an expression of the historical and cultural identity of Bavaria".
Livia Tossici-Bolt, a 63-year old charitable volunteer, has filed a complaint against officers who forced her off a public street where she was peacefully praying and holding a sign. While the officers accused her of breaching the local "buffer zone" legislation, Mrs. Tossici-Bolt was actually not standing within the zone, as video evidence confirms.
In the German town Rüsselsheim all figures of a nativity scene, including the depiction of baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the three Wise Men, have been beheaded in an act of vandalism. The damage was discovered on December 17. According to a report, the nativity scene, which was part of a Christmas marked, looked like a battlefield and the figure of Jesus in the manger was found beneath the rubble.
On December 14, a nativity scene displayed on the main square in Markó, Hungary, was destroyed by unknown persons. The nativity scene, which was awarded the most beautiful in the country in 2020, was found with all the human figures decapitated, while the animal figures were untouched. The incident was reported to the police. Some of the figures appear to have been damaged beyond repair.
In the past months, three Protestant Christians have been sentenced to jail for conscientious objections to military service on religious grounds in Ukraine. One of them, Dmytro Zelensky, is imprisoned after his acquittal was reversed by the Ternopil Appeal Court in August 2023. He has been sentenced to three years in prison and is currently preparing his appeal to the High Court.
The French Minister of Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced on 10 December that he would present in “the coming weeks” to the Council of Ministers the dissolution of Academia Christiana, a youth-movement of traditional Catholics which since its foundation in 2013 has brought together thousands of young Christians in its training courses and summer schools. According to the minister, the decision was made on the fact that the movement is "inciting hatred and discrimination." Academia Christiana has already announced that they will challenge then ban in court.
On December 9, the Austrian Heiligenkreuz Abbey in the district Baden received a bomb threat. The threatening call came shorty before 5 pm. The police confirmed that the threat had an Islamist motive. According to media reports, the aggressor said on the phone: "Convert to Islam, or I will bomb you." Special police forces promptly searched the public areas of the monastery, but no suspicious items were found on the premises.
On 7 December, six climate activists defaced St Mark's Basilica of Venice by spraying Nesquik with fire extinguishers on the right side facade and pouring mud on the columns. They then unfurled a banner and a placard with the photos of twelve climate activists who were detained for three days after a roadblock in Fiumicino.
The Russian military-civilian administration in the occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast of Ukraine issued an order banning the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), as well as the Knights of Columbus and Caritas organizations engaged in social service in the occupied territory. All movable and immovable property and land plots of the UGCC will also be seized. The Information Department of the UGCC reports they just become aware of this on December 7, although the document dates December 26, 2022.
Two British tourists were caught in the act of vandalising the Jerez nativity scene in Spain. The Christ Child was the most damaged figure and had to be replaced by another. The two men were also mocking Christian prayer after they were caught. The authorities have opened an investigation against the two British tourists for vandalism.
At the beginning of December, for example, the pilgrimage church of St Mary in Kupfergasse in Cologne was the victim of an attack in which the perpetrators left eclectic messages on the walls of the chapel of grace, ranging from utter nonsense to "666" and "Allah Akbar" (sic): pure provocation that has nothing to do with either genuine Satanism or Islamism.