It was announced on the 25th of September that the UK government has scrapped a bill that was being drafted to ban so-called "conversion therapy", which would have endangered Freedom of Speech. "Conversion therapy" bans are controversial because there is no clear definition of what "conversion therapy" is, which can lead to the term being used to criminalize private conversations or even private prayer between consenting adults, therefore limiting fundamental freedoms.
A Christian family is asking the Biden administration to intervene in their deportation after they lived in the USA for 15 years seeking asylum from prosecution in Germany. The Romeikes had fled Bissingen, Germany in 2008 after being threatened with prosecution for homeschooling their five children. Homeschooling in Germany is tightly regulated and only allowed under certain circumstances.
On the 14th of September, CNA reported that a hospital chapel in the town of Puerto Real, in the Diocese of Cádiz and Ceuta, had recently been desecrated twice. The first time, nothing was stolen but someone moved the tabernacle so that it was out of joint and left a dirty glass in it. The second time, the consecrated hosts were stolen and the veil of the tabernacle was torn off. The police were notified.
The Home Secretary of the UK has now clarified that “silent prayer, within itself, is not unlawful” in a letter for the police forces across the country. This statement comes in response to many months of controversy over "buffer zones" outside abortion facilities that have led to the arrest of several citizens for praying silently in their minds inside a buffer zone.
As the humanitarian situation of Armenian Christians behind Azerbaijan's blockade in Nagoro-Karabakh becomes critical, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress conducted a hearing on 6 September to explore the situation. Experts heard by the commission pointed out that Azerbaijan’s actions clearly constituted a genocide, as it is using starvation as a form of ethnic cleansing. Georgetown University adjunct professor David L. Philips argued that the final intention of Azerbaijan is the “elimination of the entire Christian population and its churches.”
Between September 4th and 6th, an organ console worth 5000€ was stolen from a church in Detmold. This is not only significant because of the monetary value but it also hinders the ceremonial process of the mass. Local police assumes that there were at lease two people involved in the theft and started an investigation.
In the night of September 4th to 5th, unidentified thieves managed to break into the church by entering through a window of the neighbouring building and then using the shared basement. They left with the tabernacle, the golden chalice inside it and two more boxes of unknown content. Since the tabernacle is quite heavy, police expects that more than one person must have been involved in the crime. The exact damage is unknown since it is not clear what the tabernacle and the chalice are made of. The local police started an investigation.
On 5 September a man broke into the Corpus Christi parish church in Pedregalejo (Malaga) and caused considerable damage to the parish hall while uttering death threats and shouting "God doesn't exist", among other derogatory phrases against the Church. The offender smashed several paintings, including one of Mary, a carving of Christ crucified, a pedestal of Mary, several chairs, a candelabra and some glass.
During the 31st of August and the 1st September, Finnish Politian Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola stood trial at the Helsinki Court of Appeal for the charges brought against them of "inciting hatred" against LGBT people. These charges are based upon a Twitter post made by Räsänen in 2019, as well as a pamphlet and a radio interview. Last year, Räsänen and Pohjola were unanimously acquitted of all charges, but due to the appeal by the prosecutor, they stood trial again. The verdict will be announced in November 30th.
The verdict of the Court against Fr Ioann Kurmoyarov was given on 31 August and has finally sentenced the hieromonk to 3 years in a penal colony accused of disseminating false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
On the night of 24 August 2023, three men broke 6 stone crosses from de crowns on Margaret Bridge in Budapest. The perpetrators were filmed by CCTV cameras and an investigation has been launched by the police to identify them.
A man targeted a Catholic church in Haninge, near Stockholm, with stones while shouting "Allah Akbar, I'm going to rape Jesus." The video is uploaded by 'Fares Aziz', he posted the video on TikTok. It is not exactly clear when the event took place or the response of the authorities.
Vandals set fire to a wooden cross erected a few years ago in the Nagy-Szénás mountain, near the village of Nagykovácsi. This happened on 20 August, when Hungary celebrates its first king St. Stephen I and the State Foundation Day. The burning of the cross, erected on the 550-metre-high peak, has provoked strong anger among the villagers who have already started a fundraising campaign to replace the cross as soon as possible. The perpetrators have not been identified.
On 17 August a foreign man attacked the historic church of Santa Cristina in Turin's Plazza San Carlo in broad daylight. The attack can be seen in a video that is circulating on the Internet. In the video, the man can be heard cursing at the worshippers inside the church, and shouting: 'F****ng Christians'. The perpetrator was arrested by the police and was taken to a hospital, as he injured himself while throwing stones against the church.
On August 17, a video surfaced on the Internet showing a man in the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Karpasia peninsula of Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, harassing a priest by reciting the Shahāda (Islamic profession of faith). Legal proceedings have been initiated against the provokator.
Pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka of the New Life Full Gospel Church in Minsk, was detained together with his son-in-law Illia Budai on the 15th of August. According to the news, 20 armed policemen broke into his house, searched and detained them. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and his son-in-law to 5 days in jail for resisting the detention.
On the night of 7-8 August, a group of unidentified vandals entered and destroyed the parish facilities of the Santa Maria Liberatrice parish in Vigentino, Milan. "The area with all the objects was ransacked, plus two fire extinguishers were emptied. There was white powder everywhere," told one of the founders of the association that is helping to clean and repair the destruction. The carabinieri investigating the case are also voluntarily helping with the clearing clear out of service hours.
Unknown perpetrators targeted the side entrance of the Basilica of San Paolino in Lucca with red paint. The parish priest Don Lucio Malanca told the newspaper "La Nazione" that they have experienced of repeated acts of vandalism. He said: "Unfortunately, this is not even the most serious act of vandalism suffered by our Lucchese churches and monuments in the historic centre".
The Office for Kosovo and Metohija of the Government of the Republic of Serbia reported and shared pictures of a vandalic attack that the church of Saint Petka suffered on 7 August. The church is located in the settlement of Suvi Do, close to Mitrovica, and belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Church. The church was attacked the night before its dedication day (temple's glory day).
On the night of August 6-7, the monument with the letters "Leiria" in the city of the same name in Portugal was vandalized with an anti-Church slogan. The letters were put in commemoration of World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal painted with the colors and the logo of WYD.
The statue of St Anthony recently inaugurated in Torres Novas was vandalised on 5 August. It was found the next morning with the head cut off, baby Jesus destroyed and a carton banner written "God is dead" and "You paedophiles." The damage was valued at €13,000.
On August 5, a tile panel depicting the Ecce Homo (an image of Jesus Christ), the 5th station of the ancient procession of "Nosso Senhor dos Passos," was vandalized with the graffiti "God is trans" in the city of Torres Novas. This panel had recently been restored and blessed.
Unknown vandals entered San Lorenzo's medieval church in Varigotti on the night of 5-6 August and destroyed several things during the raid. Apart from ransacking the premises, they also stole offerings and other equipment from the church.
On 4 August the baroque Evangelical church of Großröhrsdorf, a small town in Saxony, burned down to the ground. After a week of investigation, the criminal investigation department determined that the cause of the fire was arson and a suspect has already been arrested.
On 4 August, the church of Saint Peter of Désaignes, in France, was vandalized on its interior. A crucifix was damaged, leaving the arms of Christ broken, when it was taken down and left near the altar. There were also tags painted with silver paint on two pillars on either side of the altar, representing the male and female symbols. The gendarmerie is conducting an investigation.
German luxury car brand Porsche digitally removed the statue of Christ the King in Lisbon from an advertisement celebrating 60 years of the Porsche 911 filmed in Portugal and published on 2 August. After the unreasonable removal of the monument caused outrage among Christians, the brand apologised for the "error" and re-published the video with the Christ unedited.
In the night of 1st to 2nd of August, a church in Graz was vandalised with graffiti. Perpetrators painted inverted crosses on the outside walls of the church. Inverted crosses are known to be anti-Christian, satanic and occultist symbols. The police were notified and have started an investigation.
At the end of July, it was communicated that a Swedish bakery has been reported to the Discrimination Ombudsman after they declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The Christian bakers believe that the person who ordered the cake already knew their religious beliefs and intentionally generated this case.
On the 16. July, two youths stood trial in Leoben on charges of terrorist association and criminal organization. A 16-year-old and a 15-year-old planned a terrorist attack on MS Bruck school, since early 2022. The police found out through their chats that the plans were far advanced. When questioned, the perpetrators confirmed that they "wanted to shoot all the Christians in the class". The boys have now been convicted by law.
Felix Ngole, a Christian social worker, had a job offer by Touchstone Support withdrawn after the company found out that he won a free speech case over his Christian views. He says: “The reasons they gave for withdrawing the job offer were an attack on me and my faith." Ngole is now taking Touchstone to an employment tribunal.
On the 14th of July, the Saint Lucia church in Fondo, Italy, was found vandalised. The altar was damaged and a statue destroyed, with the vandals leaving a bottle of beer in the hands of the statue as a last act of destruction. The provincial councillor in Trento, Denis Paoli, condemns the attack: “What happened constitutes an intolerable outrage not only for the religious community but for the entire civil society."
On the 13th of July, 2023, an unknown vandal set fire to a cloth laying on a stand in the Roman Catholic church in Steinfeld, Germany. The cloth was completely burned and a Bible damaged, amounting to 300 euros in damage. This is the second case of arson in this church in the last three months.
On the night of Wednesday the 12th of July, the Lourdes-Grotto in the Italian town of Fescoggia was vandalised, with the flowerpots overturned. Giorgio Bazurri, of the parish Fescoggia: "Popular faith is being attacked here, the cultural tradition of those who built these chapels." This is not the only case of vandalisation in the area: the face of the Madonna figure of the Greina-Ebene was also found smeared with black paint recently.
On the 11th of July 2023, Dmitry Dashkevich, a Christian political activist in Belarus who was imprisoned last year, was supposed to be released. However, the authorities unexpectedly arrested him again. Dmitry Dashkevich is a Belarusian activist, he was the leader of the Belarusian democratic movement "Young Front" in 2004-2015. He has been repeatedly detained by the authorities since the early 2000's, already serving two years in prison from 2011-2013.
In the past year, the door of the Saint Joseph church in Stadthagen was smeared with faeces, the holy water font was filled with urine, and now the sanctuary was found urinated as well. Due to these attacks, the church has decided to close its doors to the public during the day, says Father Markus Grabowski: "For months our church has been urinated in, multiple times. We're tired and don't know what else to do but to close."
The New Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England and Wales has published a new Trans Equality Statement that defines forms of abuse towards trans victims, including "withholding money for transitioning", "refusing to use their preferred name or pronoun" or "Body shaming or criticising the victim for not being 'a real man/woman' if they have not undergone reassignment surgery." It also states that these actions can be considered as domestic abuse by family members and partners. Therefore, the CPS guidance makes parents vulnerable to prosecution, if they do not agree with transgender children.
On the 7th of July, seed oil, which was supposed to be distributed to assisted families by Caritas was found smeared on the entrance of the Purgatoria al Castello church and convent in Carini, near Palermo. The vandals have not been identified.
In the afternoon of the 7th of July, 2023, the Liebfrauenkirche in Waldshut-Tiengen was found vandalised: the Bible was torn and the Easter candle was damaged. It was used to hit the piano, which damaged the paintwork. The police have started an investigation.
The Saint-Martin Church in Avallon was found vandalised on the 5th of July, 2023. The tabernacle which contains the consecrated hosts was damaged and a monstrance and two ciboria (chalices which contain the hosts) were stolen. This is not the first incident of its kind in Avallon: on June 28th, the St-Lazare church was targeted and a pyx containing hosts was stolen. Two complaints have been filed.
Unknown vandals smeared the walls of a church in Kirchberg, Böbingen an der Rems, with unreadable graffiti and two Nazi swastikas. The damage was found on the 7th of July, the police are still searching for witnesses.
In the early morning of July 4th 2023, a man set fire to the altar of the church Notre Dame de Kerdro in Locmariaquer, France. The fire was quickly brought under control by firefighters and only damaged the altar and some religious furniture. A complaint was filed to the police who arrested a 35-year-old man in connection to the fire. The man is set to be brought before the court in November.
Images of Jesus and Mary were beheaded and vandalized in a prayer garden in a district of Vienna. The prayer garden is considered a spiritual oasis for visitors. The alarm was raised by two bypassers who discovered the devastated prayer garden. The police have been notified and they are conducting investigations to identify the motives and the perpetrators. A video by "Project Telos" shows the devastation of several objects in the garden, and the direct targeting of the statues of Mary and Jesus.
In the evening of the 3rd of July, the firemen of the town of Schramberg, Germany, were called out to the church of Saint Maria - Heilig Geist where a stranger had set a table on fire in the back of the church. Dean Rüdiger Kocholl is deeply shocked and worries that the attack may have been planned. On top of setting the table on fire, new signs had been placed on the donation boxes, stating a new purpose for the donated money: for example, for drugs, alcohol and satanism.
A canvas painting that served as an altarpiece in the Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche in Ansbach was torn by a knife on Monday morning, the 3rd of July, 2023. The picture was made by the Ansbacher artist Georg Friedrich Bischoff (1819-1873). The restoration of the image is estimated to cost 2000-2500 euros.
In the night of July 1st to 2nd the St. Jakobus church in Rheinfeld am Rhein was severely vandalised. The intruders left without stealing anything but caused damages to the amount of 38 500€. Among other things, the intruders damaged an historical window and the church's organ. Police were notified and have started an investigation.
Multiple religious items were stolen on the night of the 30th of June to the 1st of July, 2023, at the Heilig Kreuz church in Mönchengladbach, Germany. The thieves came in by forcing the door to the church and from the main room there they came into the sacristy by breaking the window. Two individual patens were stolen and one chalice with paten was stolen. The police have started an investigation.
On the 29th of June, the Irish Government approved legislation to introduce 100-metre buffer zones around abortion clinics similar to those already in place in Northern Ireland and with the PSPO's and the Public Order bill in England and Wales. In the same way as in the UK, the legislation does not distinguish between harassment and peaceful activism such as silent prayer or mere physical presence inside the buffer zone.
Between the 29th of June and the 6th of July the organ in the Herz Jesu church in Völklingen was damaged: tea lights were thrown against the pipes causing dents. The estimated damage is around 4000 euros. The police have started an investigation.
The evangelical church Philadelphia in Marseille was found ransacked on Wednesday, June 28th. The prayer room was destroyed with doors and windows fractured as well. On top of material damage, the tags speak of the anti-Christian nature of the attack: "Jesus is not God" and "Mohammed was the last prophet" were found written on the walls. The pastor has filed a complaint. It is unclear whether the attack is connected to the recent civil unrest in France.
On the 28th of June, 2023, the UK government voted to introduce a new mandatory curriculum on sex and abortion in Northern Ireland, which includes education on the prevention of early pregnancy and how to access an abortion. This legislation has met with worry about the freedom of conscience and religion in Northern Ireland. Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: "This legislation will likely put teachers and parents who oppose abortion in a very difficult situation.”
The so-called SOGI report from the UN, made public on the 15th of June, proposes to limit freedom of conscience and religious freedom, to avoid discrimination against the LGBT community. The National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) expressed worry about the implications of this report in a statement, which has also been supported by the World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance.
On the 20th of June, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that blanket bans against peaceful prayer gatherings near abortion organisations were impermissible. With this ruling, the legal issues end for a local prayer group in Pforzheim, which are challenging the bans since 2019. Germany’s highest administrative court has protected freedom of assembly, but Federal minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus is planning to introduce censorship zones around abortion organisations.
The glass of a candlestick was broken as were numerous candles, the contents of a first-aid kit were scattered on the floor, a holy water font was emptied and self-painted pictures of the first communion soaked with water in a large-scale act of vandalism in the St-Cyriak-Kirche in Dielheim, discovered on the 22nd of June. The damage is estimated to be around 3000 euros. This current case of vandalisation has moved the parish council to go to the police and limit the opening hours of the church. The church has seen smaller acts of vandalism before, including broken windows or candles, but something of this scale hasn't occurred since 2017.
On June 12th 2023, a "group of young people" attacked Joseph Eid, the rector of the Notre-Dame-du-Liban parish. Shortly after 8 pm a dozen young people allegedly entered the presbytery to retrieve a soccer ball, and were scolded by the priest. The situation seems to have escalated and the priest was violently thrown to the ground, then grabbed by the back of the neck before being helped by witnesses. The assailants then fled, hurling anti-Christian insults.
In line with other European countries, Iceland has approved a ban on conversion therapies for 'sexual orientation,' 'gender expression' and 'gender identity.' The problem arises from the redaction of the new law, that restricts freedom of religion and parental choice. The law does not specify what is considered "conversion therapy", which could lead to the criminalization of harmless spiritual counseling by parents or fellow believers.
Matthew Grech, a maltese 33-year-old Christian, had his first Court trial on Friday 9th of June. He is being prosecuted on the grounds of "breaching the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act" and promoting "conversion therapy". He could face a prison sentence of up to five months and fines from 1,000 to 5,000 Euro. In the program, aired in April 2022, Grech shared his experience as a homosexual and how he found Christianity, which changed his life forever. Grech did not invite or encourage listeners to undergo any form of "conversion therapy".
On June 8, during the Corpus Christi procession in Ursynów, an Audi driver refused to wait for the faithful to pass and rammed his car through the crowd, hitting and injuring people. The police are investigating the event.
On June 3rd, the sacristan of the Chuch of Mailhac discovered that the place of worship had been vandalized. Many candles lay broken on the floor, and there are clear signs that someone had tried to open the trunk. The sacristan had already filed a complaint for the destruction of candles in the past. As a consequence of this act, the church has been closed for an indefinite time. The Ginestas gendarmerie was informed on the same day, and a complaint had been filed.
On June 2, Vladimir Burshtyn was arrested and taken to trial after having been preaching in the street in Drahichyn the day before. The law enforcers told his wife that the reason for the arrest was the "organisation of mass events". He was fined 555 Belarusian rubles, over a month's average pension in the country.
On June 1st, the provincial prosecutor's office of La Coruña opened a case over the burning of a cross in La Toleira of Neda, following a complaint by the organisation of Christian Lawyers. The lawyers' organization indicates that BNG (Galician nationalist party) members were responsible for the incident. They are being charged with possible hate crimes, offending religious feelings, offending historical heritage and illegal demonstrations. The Prosecutor's Office is asking the police to identify those involved in the reported act and the person(s) responsible for the fire.
A statue of Our Lady of Lavasina installed on the seafront of Ajaccio in Corsica was found decapitated on May 29th. The statue was used in processions in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Ajaccio. This is the fourth act of anti-Christian vandalism on Corsica in recent months. In April, a statuette of the Virgin Mary by Petit Capo beach was found vandalised, as well as a make-shift altar at a scout camp in Vero. A cross in Sisco was also decapitated that month.
On Sunday May 28, individuals broke into the church and carried out various acts of vandalism and damage to the place of worship. They tried to set fire to the church, also all the candles were knocked over, a crucifix was damaged and paintings were broken. The mayor, Albert Sanchez, strongly condemned this act of violence. In this context, local representatives called for a peaceful gathering in front of Cugnaux town hall (near the church), on May 31 at 6:30 pm to condemn all acts of violence against places of worship.
On April 27, the Moscow City Court ruled the liquidation of the Sova Information and Analytical Center, the leading organization monitoring religious liberty violations in the country. This represents a significant blow to the protection of freedom of religion in Russia.
On April 26, the lower house of the Irish Parliament passed what could be the most extreme hate speech law in Europe, with critics saying that it is in fact a 'thought crime' bill. The text of the bill makes the possession of material considered 'hateful' against certain groups a crime punishable with jail, and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn't intend to use the material to "spread hate".
On May 23rd, a ruling by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in the UK banned Christian Joshua Sutcliffe from teaching altogether, after he failed to treat his pupils "with dignity and respect" by misgendering a transgender boy. This case is the first of its kind in the UK and has become international news. It goes back to 2017, when the former maths teacher at the Cherwell School in Oxford, said "well done girls" to a group of girls, where one was a transgender boy - and he later apologized. Sutcliffe was later also accused of inappropriately sharing his Christian beliefs.
In Malnia, near Gogolin on May 23rd, unknown perpetrators blocked the door to the rectory to prevent the parish priest from intervening and committed the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary, a statue of St. Anthony, and the devastation of the church interior. The losses made by the perpetrators were estimated at several thousand zlotys.
A 21-year-old British man, Edward Little, has pleaded guilty to preparing to commit acts of terrorism in an attack against the evangelist Hatun Tash in 2022. Little was found carrying £5,000, with which he planned to buy a firearm to kill Hatun Tash at the Speaker's Corner, a place for public debates where she frequently debates and preaches. He refused the allegations at first, but on the 19. May 2023 he admitted to planning the murder back on 23. September 2022.
On May 19, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., unknown perpetrators entered the church Notre-Dame des Grâces in Revel without being detected. Once inside, they poured red paint on the walls. A depiction of Christ on the cross, a pyrographed painting of the Virgin and Child, candles and the altar were also vandalized with paint. On a wall, the word "proteste" (unclear form in French) was also written in red. The mayor considers closing the church outside worship hours due to this incident. The same happening had already taken place on May 1st, with the same acts and the word "protest" written on a wall with red paint. Back in 2018, the church in Revel had been attacked with arson.
On May 17, a citizen who was silently praying in front of the Dator abortion clinic in Madrid was arrested by the Spanish national police. The arrest comes as a result of the entry into force of the reform of the Spanish Criminal Code last year, which punishes praying in front of abortion clinics as it considers it 'harassment to women.'
On Tuesday the 16th of April, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity in Mariupol. According to a US NGO, it is "part of a wider systematic religious persecution campaign in occupied Ukraine." More generally: many Ukrainian pastors said they had been arrested and tortured by Russian soldiers, with one saying that the troops were directed to "kill all the Christian pastors who are not part of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Churches in Bavaria are targeted by vandals with increased frequency. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) registered 294 cases of damage to property in churches, chapels, or monasteries last year - 23 more than in 2021 (271). According to the information, the trend has been increasing in recent years. In 2019, the LKA still counted 219 cases, and the following year it was 242. According to a spokesman of the Catholic diocese of Regensburg there are: "For example, figures of saints were destroyed or damaged, people smoked and urinated in church rooms, church walls were smeared or fires were set inside the church."
A teacher in Wales, Ben Dybowski, was encouraged to express his Christian beliefs at a seminar and was subsequently fired for "hate speech." The teacher was prompted to share his opinions during a mandatory training session organised by the charity Diverse Cymru to instruct teachers on "workforce diversity practice, unconscious bias and gender awareness." He later commented that: "We were told it was a safe space and encouraged to speak freely."
A Christian primary school teacher who questioned Stonewall and Mermaids' recommendations to support a "gender transition" of an 8-year-old student without providing any supporting medical data has lost her job and is the subject of numerous regulatory body inquiries. She is being supported by the organisation Christian Concern to contest against her dismissal due to discrimination based on her religion.
On May 11th, the Ukrainian newspaper Korrespondent.net reported: "The invaders are removing the property of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, but such actions are not explained in any way and no one was warned about the "raid". Russian occupants are looting and destroying the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PCU) in temporarily occupied Simferopol. The invaders broke down the doors of the temple, destroy and steal the property of the Ukrainian church." One of the leaders of this "raid" is Novikov Evgeny Nikolaevich - "the Moscow bailiff who manages the seizure of the PCU temple in Crimea". The Russian individuals did not explain their actions and no one warned the representatives of the religious community and church officials about the "raid".”
Some people have tried to cause a fire in the church of Santa María de los Ángeles. This criminal act occurred on Tuesday, May 9 around 4:00 pm in Vitoria, while the church was closed. Perpetrators sprayed gasoline at the main entrance of the church. The fire burned a billboard and the church entrance, which they left darkened and dirty. The criminals fled, but thanks to the images from the church's security cameras, the police were able to identify them.
On the 9. May, the Police of Salzburg have arrested a man who hurled a bottle of red wine he had brought with full force against the high altar on Monday morning in the parish church of Schwarzach im Pongau. Thus, two altar lights were knocked over and the offering table and brickwork were contaminated by the wine. The man had entered the church loudly ranting and gesticulating aggressively and spat at a statue of Christ. The man - a Czech citizen who is banned from staying in Austria - was filmed in the church by two video cameras.
On 5 May 2013, graffiti was found on the Church of Lieusaint, in a suburb of Paris. The graffiti, which said: 'Vive l'Islam et la paix" (Long live Islam and Peace) was written in French and a Star of David was drawn. According to a local Muslim association, the scripture, full of mistakes, is unlikely to come from a Muslim. The Mayor strongly condemns this "proof of human stupidity". Last year, statues inside the church had been destroyed.
In the context of the current blockade by Azerbaijan on the Republic of Artsakh, the ethnic Armenian breakaway state in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian Christians are suffering increasing threats and fear for their future. In one of the latest threats against the Christians living in the region, Azerbaijan has demanded the expulsion of the Armenian clergy from the Dadivank monastery, built in the 9th century and one of the symbols of medieval Armenia.
An exhibition in the European Parliament showing Jesus surrounded by men dressed in leather as sadomasochistic slaves, apparently homosexuals, has provoked complaints from several MEPs and Christians in Europe. The author, lesbian Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson, argues the photographs depict Christ supporting homosexual rights.
A German man who was doing a bicycle tour around the Tollensee Sea in Germany, near Neubrandenburg, came across a wall displaying several hateful or disrespectful messages and insults almost entirely against Christians or Catholic Christians. He posted a picture of the display on his facebook page and informed the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians. Some of the posters on the wall say "F**k off Vatican", "Good that theologians are disappearing on their own", "Catholics are sh*t", among other things.
A cross on the Saint Jean pass in Sisco, Corsica, was found vandalized at the end of April. The nearly two-metre-high cross was placed on the pass more than twenty years ago by the inhabitants of Sisco. This is one of the four acts of anti-Christian vandalism which have occurred in Corsica in recent months. A statuette of the Virgin Mary in Petit Capo had just been vandalised a few days before the cross was decapitated, and a makeshift altar at a scout camp in Varo was vandalised shortly after this. In May, another statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated in Ajaccio.
On the 22. April. unknown people destroyed two statues and one vase in the Saint-Rémi Church, in the village of Profondeville. The day after, a small chapel nearby was burnt. A few days before, a Statue of the Virgin had been destroyed too. The police assume, that the same persons committed the three acts.
Between April 17. and 22., the St Michael's Church in Beccles was vandalised. Perpetrators caused damage to the masonry, to the stonework, including to the patio terrace slabs, and safety fences were moved. The Suffolk police was informed and are looking for the perpetrators.
On April 15, seven young men were fined for talking about Easter in a public street in the city centre of Minsk. The individuals, who were all Protestant, were approached by police and told that they were violating the law by "conducting missionary activities without a permit." The police fined each one about 2 months' average wages, reports Forum 18.
On April 14, in the Russian city of Bryansk, the Volodarskiy Magistrates' District Court penalized the pastor of the "First Church of Evangelical Christians Baptists of Bryansk" for engaging in "illegal" missionary work. He was charged with "introducing 'modern' ways of communicating in line with 'Western standards'."
On 14. April, in Menden, near Dortmund, unknown persons have tampered with the missionary cross on the church square of the Holy Cross Church. They broke off the Jesus figure and stole it. The police is looking for witnesses.
On the 12. April 2023, the rector of the Sainte-Madeleine Church in Angers found his church devastated: seven statues had been beheaded or amputated, the altar was vandalized, and many crosses were too. Mr. Verchère, Mayor of the city, and Mr. Darmanin, Minister of the Interior condemned the degradation. On the 18. April, a 40-year-old with criminal records named Brahim was arrested by the police, he was also taken to a hospital for psychiatric examination.
Over three nights on April 12, 13, and 14, in Croydon, thirty gravestones have been destroyed with a sledgehammer - some graves were dating back 500 years, at a Grade I listed church. «The church is appealing for witnesses along with police who are trying to find out who took a sledgehammer to the graves. »
A statuette of the Virgin Mary, set up eight years ago by the residents of Sevani or Petit Capo beach in Ajaccio was found vandalised on April 12th, 2023. The flowers, the pots which contained them and the candles surrounding the Virgin were stolen and the statue was tipped aside. This is the first incident in a row of recent anti-Christian vandalisation on Corsica. Later in April the chapel and a cross of a scout camp in Vero were vandalized and a cross in Sisco was decapitated. In May, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated.
On 9th of April, at night, unknown people wrote with white paint "Pa Pedophil" (paedophile pastor) on the evangelical Church of Jemelle. Pastor Grégory Zieleniec received a hateful letter in his mailbox "pedophil en liberté. Il s'agit du pasteur grégory zieleniec" (Free paedophile. This is Pastor Gregory Zieleniec). The Pastor has filed a complaint for insult, vandalism and defamation.
Marisa Francescangeli, a primary school teacher in San Vero Milis (Oristano, Sardinia), has been suspended for 20 days with a pay reduction (from 25 March to 15 April) for having made her students construct a rosary for Christmas and praying an Ave Maria and Our Father with them. The Oristano school office's decision of suspension was taken after two mothers protested. While other parents defend her, she said she will appeal the decision.
Two men were arrested on the 05. April after having urinated inside of the St. Georg's church of Nördlingen. One of the perpetrators is 39 and the other is 41 years old. The day before, faeces had been found in the same church. In addition, the two men attempted to break the offertory box. As the police searched the suspects' apartments, stolen goods from the previous day were found and seized.
Mikhail Simonov, a 63-year-old Russian Orthodox Christian, has become the first person to be imprisoned for expressing opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine on religious grounds. Simonov has been accused of disseminating false information about the Russian armed forces "based on political hatred" due to two social media posts in which he criticized Russian attacks on Kiev and Mariupol. One of the posts read "We, Russia, have become godless. Forgive us, Lord!"
In the Norwegian city of Klepp, nine council members are conducting investigations into a suspected case of religious discrimination over the funding of Christian organisations. It is suspected that organisations that adhere to the traditional view of marriage appear to be left out of the community grants.
On the 04. April, intruders broke into the church Santa Caterina da Siena in Coverciano (a suburb of Florence). Sacred objects, including four chalices, and two pyxins (host holders) were stolen. Also, loudspeakers and microphones have been stolen. A parish priest's helper raised the alarm when he noticed that the window of the entrance door had been smashed on Monday morning. Also, a copper gutter was partly torn off the wall. The value of the damage is yet to be estimated. The police are investigating.
On the 02. April, a Statue of Pope John-Paul II was vandalized: the hands were painted red, the face yellow. The sentence "Maxima Culpa" has been written on the pedestal, which is most probably an allusion to Ekke Overbeek's book accusing the late Pope of having closed the eyes on children-abuse cases.
On the 1. April, two German men were arrested after a random police control for having stolen 14 skulls in a Church Ossuary in Mölbling, Austria. The men said they had taken the skulls because they were interested in mourning and funeral cultures. The 43-year-old driver and his 35-year-old passenger from the Regensburg area said they had never stolen skulls before. The police seized the objects and stated that the two death cult fans would be charged with disturbing the peace of the dead after the investigation was completed.
On the 31. March 2023, pupils and teachers from the Catholic School "Saint-Pierre", in the southern city of Montrond-les-Bains, received a threatening message in the school's intern e-mail box. An unknown person, probably an outsider, threatened pupils of with death with the words "I'm going to cut your throat". An investigation has been opened by the police.
The Swiss TV sender SRF has prohibited the moderator Wasiliki Goutziomitros to wear a cross necklace during the program. Ms. Goutziomitros is a presenter on the news program "10 vor 10", and was seen wearing a small cross pendant. Now, the SRF has decided that it violates journalistic guidelines. This has caused a great discussion in Switzerland regarding religious freedom. These news were reported around the 24. March.
On the 21. March, the City Council of Aléria (Corsica), stated that a painting representing Jesus Christ and exposed in the Village Church had been stolen. The town hall of Aleria posted on its Facebook page about the theft. The municipality of Plaine orientale wrote: "It is a shock in the parish of Aleria, (...) a sacred object has been stolen." A complaint has been filled.