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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was reported on the 20. October that the walls of the Sint-Elisabeth Church in Kortrijk were vandalized with crossed-out crosses and the word "F*CK" written with black spray paint. This is not the first time the church has faced vandalism. The pastor of the church, Guido Cooman, said that he is going to file a complaint with the police.
The Russian Embassy in Portugal denounced that Fr Sergiy Borsky, of the All Saints Parish of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Lisbon, "has received several threats to his life and physical integrity" and had been criminally attacked.
On the 17. October, the police in Lubasz were notified that an unknown vandal had severely damaged the statue of John Paul II, which was estimated at a loss of PLN 1,500. The 20-year-old perpetrator has been caught by the police and now faces up to 5 years imprisonment for the crime he committed. However, the final punishment will be decided by the court.
The European Court of Human Rights has recently concluded that Eloïse Bouton, a "Femen" member who performed a topless act simulating an abortion of Christ by the Virgin Mary in front of the altar and tabernacle of La Madeleine Church in Paris in 2013, has to be compensated. She had been sentenced by the French court to a one-month suspended prison and 2,000 euro fine for "sexual exhibition". She had also desecrated the altar of the church with urination and anti-Christian slogans and symbolism. With this ruling, a dangerous record of precedents is being created that will only encourage more blasphemous attacks on Christians.
In a Press Release on the 13. October, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) stated: “The internal rule of an undertaking prohibiting the visible wearing of religious, philosophical or spiritual signs does not constitute direct discrimination if it is applied to all workers in a general and undifferentiated way.” This means, now companies can prohibit workers to use religious symbols at work, including cross necklaces or headscarves. This will not be considered discrimination against religious groups, as long as it applies to all religions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.".
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In the district of Haselbach in Braunau, a sacristan was brutally beaten up during his evening prayers on the 29. September. The perpetrator has been identified as a 26-year-old homeless man from Romania. The perpetrator had asked the 87-year-old sacristan for money, who had given him some help before. This time, the sacristan refused and the young man decided to attack him. The victim was found by witnesses, who saw him severely injured and alerted the police.
Between September 25 and 28, unknown perpetrators forced open an entrance door of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Holy Trinity Church) and thus entered the church building. Inside, cupboards and donation boxes were broken open and an unknown amount of money was stolen from them. The damage to property cannot yet be quantified, reports the local police.
On September 27, a number of brass chalices and two big screens were stolen from the basilica of the Santissima Annunziata di Firenze in Montecosaro. The chalices are sacred objects that are used to celebrate Mass.
It was reported on the 27. September that the Municipal Committee of the Aragonese Party (PAR) criticised the vandalism caused to the exterior of the church of La Magdalena in Zaragoza. The exterior wall of the church is covered in graffiti that includes offensive expressions or insults against the clergy.
Belarusian Police banned New Life Church from meeting for dominical worship in the parking lot of the church building from which they had been forcibly evicted. On 25 September officials ordered the Belarussian Police to ban the Sunday meeting and detain anyone who did not leave, while pastors Vyacheslav Goncharenko and Antoni Bokun were detained and fined for having organized the 18 September 2022 service.
The position of an EU Envoy of Religious Freedom is still vacant. The position was left vacant for 2 years, until it was briefly held by Christos Stylianides from May to September 2021. He left the role, as he was offered a different position only 5 months later. In 2022, it was communicated that Mario Mauro would be confirmed as a new Envoy, but there has not been any further confirmation. On the 23. September 2022, Marco Gombacci wrote an Open Letter to Ursula von der Leyen questioning why the EU is not making the safeguarding of Religious Freedom a priority, given its "indispensable value for defining democracies and states under the rule of law".
On the 20. September, a large-scale study was published by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI), which looks at the portrayal of faith and religion in the media. The study revealed there is a strong demand across the world for more news and media coverage about faith. It also shows that journalists and editors admit coverage of faith-related topics is rarely encouraged in the industry. The study had 9,000 respondents, including citizens, journalists, and editors from 18 countries and major religions. An important finding was that the general population feels that "media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them."
The diocese of Jaén reported that on the 19. September, a robbery and a desecration took place in the parish church of Our Lady of Carmen. The perpetrators stole money from the lampstand and broke into the tabernacle. The consecrated hosts were scattered on the floor, which is what struck the community the most. The Bishop of Jaén, Monsignor Sebastián Chico Martínez, condemned the incident and asked all the parishes to worship a prayer of atonement during that week.
A Scottish politician, John Mason, has been disciplined by party leaders at Holyrood after he showed support for pro-life activism outside hospitals. He was sent a written warning and was accused of causing women “great distress” for his remarks on abortion and buffer zones outside clinics. The news was reported recently on the 15. September.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has pronounced in favor of the legislation meant to limit pro-life activity around abortion clinics, which could lead to the creation of abortion clinic "buffer zones" across Scotland. The First Minister suggested that pro-life groups could protest in front of the Scottish parliament instead of gathering outside abortion clinics. A legal counsel for ADF UK, Mr. Igunnubole, warns that such laws do not possess a "reasonable excuse" to ignore basic tenets of the rule of law, such as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.
In the city of Leeds, members of society raised concerns, claiming that street preachers in the city center are using hate speech and homophobic language. The local council, together with the Police have now issued a new "code of conduct", in which they tell preachers that they respect their freedom of expression, but also recognise that it may be limited to "prevent disorder or crime".
Rev Dr. Bernard Randall is a Christian chaplain who was reported to a terrorist watchdog by the school he worked at, after giving a sermon addressing the new LGBT Guidelines and telling his pupils it was ok to make up their own minds, as long as they remain respectful towards other's opinions. He is now facing a high-profile Employment Tribunal hearing and has even been blacklisted as a safeguarding risk to children by the Church of England (CofE). Dr. Randall says he was interrogated and told that refusing to capitulate to the allegation and denying his beliefs made him a risk. The diocese safeguarding team concluded ‘the Church itself is a risk factor.’
The parishioners of a Romanian Orthodox Church found the door locked with chains and a padlock on Sunday 21. August. Unknown vandals" had wrapped a chain around the iron knobs of the front door of the St. Roque's church in Valletta, they also locked the chain with a padlock. The president of the community, Fr George-Alexandru Popescu, told the newspaper that he contacted the people of the parish to see if someone had locked the doors in this way, but found out that it was an act of vandalism. Another incident had already happened in November of last year, when vandals poured gasoline on the parvis.
On 21. August, "Grimsby Live" reported that the Willows Community Church in Grimsby had been tagged with slogans about sex and drugs that affected the community. Organizers of the Church repainted the walls within hours after the desecration took place. And the news outlet chose not to publish the pictures of the vandalistic act, due to the nature of the slogans. The police was notified and they will run an investigation.
Sacred objects had been stolen during the first week of August from the church of San Rocco in Maggianico and the church of San Martino Vescovo in Calolzio. The police of Lecco were able to identify the perpetrators, who were two men, and recovered what had been stolen: a wooden offering box, three metal offertories, a base of a crucifix, a wooden crucifix, and brass plating of the crucifix itself. Although the objects were found, there is damage to the crucifix.
A statue of Mary had been stolen from the Lady Chapel in Beckum and was found on the 18th of August. Employees of the Wocklum quarry found the figure, which was badly damaged, in the conveyor system that is used to feed the stones to the sand production. It was a great coincidence that the statue could be rescued, according to the police press officer Wibke Honselmann. "It was supposed to be destroyed in the Wocklum quarry, but the corpus blocked the plant," Honselmann said. Before the unknown perpetrators threw the statue into the pit, the head, hands and feet had been cut off. Police are investigating
Teenager vandals entered the Church in Pionca di Vigonza with their bikes and set fire to a Crucifix on the 18. August. One parishioner noticed the smoke coming out of the Church. The Carabinieri has identified two young boys, who committed the arson by placing candles under a Crucifix inside the church. Fortunately, the flames were extinguished within minutes. The police is still investigating to identify other perpetrators.
An unknown perpetrator has vandalised several churches in Basel, as it was reported on the 17. August. Two of the churches that were vandalised were the St. Joseph Church and the Holy Spirit Church. In the St. Joseph Church, there was a message saying "Jesus Christ, Allahu Akbar" in white paint. The Holy Spirit church was severely damaged, as there were numbers and letters scratched into the sandstone and other inscriptions were made with black and red pen. In total there were 5 churches vandalized.
On the 16. August, the tabernacle of the parish of Santa María Reparadora in Santander was desecrated. The perpetrators stole the ciborium with the consecrated hosts that were reserved inside, as well as the virile of a monstrance. The Diocese of Santander and the National Police confirmed that a group of unidentified individuals desecrated the temple. It seems that at least one parishioner witnessed the incident, seeing how two persons went to the tabernacle, opened it, and took the sacred objects. Fr Antonio Arribas, media delegate of the Diocese, told ACI Prensa that the incident has been reported to the Police.
Three armed and masked individuals robbed the presbytery of a church in Gironde during a baptism ceremony on the 14. August. The perpetrators stole a chest that contained the money of a week's collections. As one of the priests found the robbers, one of them pointed his handgun at him while the others fled. The police were immediately alarmed, but they did not manage to arrest the criminals. The amount of damage is around 2000 Euros and the police has opened an investigation.
The Church of Buissenal was vandalized on the night of 13. to 14. August by unknown perpetrators. The vandals broke into the building by destroying stained glass windows and left a message on the main altar with the word "EVIL". They also defaced two grave markers in the cemetery.
The doors and several sections of the façade of the Saint-Patrice church in Rouen were tagged with insulting slogans and militant symbols on the night of Saturday 13. August. The Diocese released a statement expressing the sadness due to the desecration and announced that the parish has filed a complaint with the police for damage to property. The tags were removed from the historic Church on the 16. August.
Germany rejected the asylum application made in 2018 by Hassan, a 44-year-old Iranian who converted to Christianity in Iran and was prosecuted for the same reason. When he testified before the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany, he disclosed that he learned about Christianity in Iran through his brother-in-law, who had been imprisoned for his activities and was then killed for practicing his faith in jail. During the second week of August, the European Court of Human Rights refused to listen to Hassan's case, meaning now he faces the threat of being deported to his home country, where he will likely face imprisonment or death.
The columns and the flower boxes of the Church of San Benedetto in Livorno have been spray-painted with red tags. Some of the inscriptions that defaced the Church said "No Nazi" and "1312". It is presumed that it is the same vandals that have vandalized a statue of Canapone in the Piazza XX Settembre. A concierge hopes that the security cameras might help identify the perpetrator.
The historian Dick Harrison recently wrote a review of a book called "The First Right: Freedom of Religion. Freedom from Religion", written by the deputy secretary general of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Jacob Rudenstrand. The historian commented that the book was worth reading and pointed out that the current persecution of Christians "hardly gets any media attention."
On Sunday 7. August, tthe police in Murcia arrested two men after they attacked the church of San Bartolomé during the celebration of Mass. The perpetrators, aged 24 and 27, who are originally from Estonia, entered the church shouting and obscene gestures. The parish priest and several parishioners tried to intervene and stop them before they gained access to the tabernacle. The parishioners told the police officers the details of the incident and regretted the lack of respect by these individuals for their faith and the violation of their freedom of worship. The perpetrators have been handed over to the Examining Magistrate's Court on duty.
Unknown perpetrators vandalized the Catholic Church of the Good Hirte, using a marker pen to write words and sayings on the pillars and walls inside the church. They further desecrated a Bible, which was open for reading, and a fresco in a side niche. Pastor Gerd Möller said that "the fresco, in particular, will not be easy to restore". According to the Pastor, the attack took place during the morning on August 4 and the damage caused amounts to 10,000 euros. He further added that "the immaterial damage cannot be estimated. A church is a place of encounter with God and prayer. These places are of inestimable value for people who practice their religion". The parish filed a criminal complaint with the police who launched an investigation to find the perpetrators.
Between the early afternoon of August 4 and the morning of the 5th, unknown people broke into a church located in the west of Leipzig. They entered through a window and searched several rooms inside the building. The door of one of the offices was forced open and the room was looted. There is not yet any available information regarding the stolen items and the damage caused. The case was reported to the police who launched an investigation, deeming this a case of aggravated theft.
It was reported on the 3rd of August that the church of San Giovannello is being constantly vandalised and spray painted by unknown persons. According to the newspaper, they receive daily complaints and pictures of the church being daubed on every corner by vandals, including the surroundings. The newspaper suggests installing a video surveillance system.
German Police are investigating an attempted break-in at the Reconciliation Church in the Bännjerrück district of Kaiserslautern. The event took place on the 3rd of August, as the perpetrators tried to gain access to the church, but did not succeed. Nevertheless, the burglars caused damage estimated to be at least 200 euros.
The Canadian police released the hate crime data for 2021 on the 3rd of August, showing an alarming rise in anti-religious hate crimes: from 530 cases in 2020 to 884 in 2021. Anti-Catholic hate crimes rose 260%: while there were 43 cases in 2020, it rose to 155 in 2021. Catholics were the second most target group after Jews. Main News Broadcasters reported on these worrying numbers, but although Anti-Catholic motives were the second most targeted religious group and showed the highest rise among all categories, the media only used examples from other groups.
On the 2nd of August afternoon, unknown perpetrator(s) vandalised a church in the Zähringerstraße. The individuals damaged flyers and a praise book with fire, they threw over altar candles and stands and damaged a holy figure. Also, an unknown number of candles were stolen. The police has taken over the investigation of the damage to property and asks for information from witnesses.
On the 29. July, the wall of the Church of our Lady in Zurich was found with inscriptions in red paint saying: "Burn in Hell", "Strike Fundamentalists on the Mouth" and an anarchist symbol, along with paint dripped over the staircase. For the time being, the parish staff is not allowed to clean up the graffiti, while the crime is being investigated by the police. The shocked priest said he had never experienced anything like this.
During a press conference on the 28. July, the "International Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)" reported on the indifference and even bias present in the BAMF (the Migration Office in Germany) in regard to the fate of Iranian Christian converts, who face persecution or even death if deported to Iran. Pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, an expert on legal practice and deportation procedures recalls how representatives would make fun of the statements of Christian Iranians, he stated that court hearings were "pure gambling". Many Iranian converts shared their hardships and disappointing experiences with the german authorities.
The church of Saint-François-d'Assise in Perpignan was desecrated on the 23. July in the afternoon by a group of vandals. The perpetrators ransacked the church and the sacristry, they threw the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempted to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary and dried flowers. They also broke the safe and looted the little money that was in the church from offerings and donations. The police is investigating the case.
During an interview with the Christian Institute, Dr. James Holt, Chair of the Freedom Declared Foundation, said that there is a lack of religious literacy among some elected officials in the UK. He noted that at the recent International Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief in London, the issue seemed to be addressed mainly as a foreign policy issue and not a domestic concern. He considers that "much more needs to be done" to counter anti-religious hatred in the UK and secure religious freedom.
The priest of the municipality of Camas in Sevilla, Pedro José Rodriguez Molina, received a note with death threats on the 21. July. The note said "Ardereis como en el 36" (You will burn like in 36) and "Cloro al clero" (Chlorine to the clergy). The priest posted the note on his social media profile.
Between July 10 and 19, unknown vandals smashed two windows in the parish of St. Paul in Klein. The perpetrators threw stones at the windows, creating a total of five holes distributed over the panes' surface. The total amount of the property damage has not been assessed yet but, according to the police, it is estimated to be around several thousand euros, since "these are very old and colorful stained glass panes".
The facade of St. Agostino's Church, located in via Principi D'Acaja, was smeared with writings by perpetrators who were unaware of the security cameras in the vicinity. Thanks to the surveillance system the police were able to identify those responsible for damaging the church. Federico Battel, the commander of the Municipal Police of Pinerolo, disclosed that "we are talking about some girls, probably adults, from the shooting we recognize the faces well, now we are working to trace the names and surnames. Subsequently, we will proceed to report for damage and the costs of the restoration will also be charged".
Rosa Lalor, who on the 24th of February of 2021 was fined for praying silently on the public street, and later decided to challenge the sanction, won her appeal. At the time, the police considered that she did not have a "reasonable excuse" to be outside, even though she explained that she was simply "walking and praying" and that daily exercise was allowed. She received a fine of £200 and was then detained in the police car. Rosa Lalor decided to challenge the fine, with the help of ADF UK and won the case in court.
On the early evening of July 18, two people attending the church in Leezen noticed smoke building up in the rear area of the church and alerted the authorities. According to the police's preliminary investigations, a box with candles was lit on fire inside the church, deeming this case an "attempted serious arson". However, the extent of the damage caused could not be assessed yet. The police are looking for witnesses who might have seen people acting suspiciously on the church grounds. The arson motive was confirmed later on.
A Christian mayoral candidate for Lewisham, Maureen Martin, has launched legal action after being sacked for her statement on Christian beliefs about marriage in her election manifesto. She was dismissed by her housing association employer L&Q for "gross misconduct" following three complaints of "hate speech" against her, as she expressed her belief that a marriage between a man and a woman was a "fundamental building block in society" and the "safest environment to raise a child".
A citizen reported to the police that four benches had been thrown into the pond at St. Martini cemetery in Stadthagen. It is not yet known if the benches were damaged by this act, nor who threw them into the water. The police are investigating the case.
Between July 16 and 17, a glazed door of a Catholic Church was destroyed by unknown people. During the previous week, another attack took place in the same church, in which unknown perpetrators destroyed a stained glass window. Both cases were reported to the police who opened an investigation.
During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, three young people, aged 20, 21, and 25, broke into a church in the Świebodzin Commune, while under the influence of alcohol. They entered the church by breaking the padlock and, inside, stole the chalice, cyborium, and message boxes, worth a little over 400 euros. However, according to the police, after leaving the church building, they left the stolen objects in the bushes and entered the bell tower, rang the bells and hence woke up the town residents. The perpetrators were identified and detained by the police. They were charged with "theft with burglary" and can face up to 10 years in prison.
Bishop Halko in the city of Pohoda was attacked by a group of drunken young men, who broke bottles, banged on his cabin, and soaked him with water before other people who laughed at the scene. The incident took place during the night and was reported on 17.07.2022. The priest also recalls that the people shouted at him with insults and hung an LGBT Flag on his cottage. It seems that the group attacked the priest after he had expressed his opinion regarding the LGBT movement on TV.
Unknown vandals sprayed blue paint graffiti on the outer facade of the nearly 1900-year-old Roman Pantheon, where it could be read "aliens exist". As the area outside the Pantheon is not under complete surveillance, the security cameras were not useful to help find the culprits. However, the case was reported to the police who immediately launched an investigation. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved buildings from Roman antiquity and experts are working on removing the paint from its walls.
Dymytrij Rudyuk, the Lviv Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OKU), accused the Russian army and the Moscow Patriarch Cyril of being responsible for torturing Ukrainian Orthodox priests. In an interview, he claimed that "the majority of OKU priests had to flee the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. Those who stayed are often tortured. Five Orthodox priests were shot and a priest-monk was cruelly tortured to death".
On July 15, two men, aged 28 and 29, suspected of having broken into a chapel in the Brody commune were detained by the police. In addition to the break-in, they stole liturgical objects worth nearly 500 euros, which the police were able to recover.
During the night between July 15 and 16, unknown perpetrators vandalized Rydboholm's church in Borås with swastikas, penises, and the word 'Hitler'. The security company was the first to notice the graffiti on the church's facade. When Pastor Sven-Erik Olsson arrived at the church, he noticed how much worse the case actually was: "There is graffiti on windows, on doors, flower pots and even on the stone stairs in front of the gate. It's outrageous, it's the whole community's church". The police were alerted and are looking into the case.
On the 15. July during the night, a 60-year-old restaurant chef witnessed how 3 men were vandalizing the St. Augustine Church in the centre of Cagliari and reprimanded the perpetrators to stop throwing bottles at the church. The three men then attacked him, beating him up and spraying pepper spray on him. The victim was taken to the hospital, he had three broken ribs and a chest injury. The police identified one of the perpetrators through the victim`s testimony and surveillance cameras.
Since the end of June, there have been three similar burglaries targeting valuables from churches and chapels, in the Main-Rhön region. In the three cases, the perpetrators broke into the buildings and, according to the police, stole "whatever was possible". They took valuables such as gold-plated candlesticks, host bowls, and cash from the offering boxes. Additionally, and overall, the thieves caused property damage amounting to 2100 euros. Due to the similarities between the cases, the police believe the crimes are related.
The priest of the church of San Giorgio, Don William Maggioni, discovered on the morning of the 11. July that two pyxes, containing hosts inside, were missing from the tabernacle behind the altar. The burglars also forced the tabernacle of the altar of the Madonna open, which was found empty. In addition, the golden crown of St. Valentine was robbed as well. Don William alerted the police who started an investigation to find the perpetrators.
Between July 9 and 10, unknown vandals broke and damaged several windows at the Karthaus monastery. It is suspected that minors threw balls and gravel at the windows, breaking them as a result. The case was reported to the police who are looking for witnesses to identify the perpetrators. The police stated that this kind of damage caused to church buildings is "no trivial offence", and called on parents from the area to talk to their children about it. Since this is not the first vandalistic attack against a church in the vicinity, the police added that they will be more present and vigilant in the area.
On July 11, unknown burglars broke into a church on Meislahnstrasse. After entering the building they broke a room's door and searched it, however it is not yet clear if they stole anything. The police were alerted and are investigating the case.
Two free evangelical churches have appealed to the Geneva Court due to the denial of their requests to perform baptisms on public beaches. On July 8, the Swiss canton of Geneva banned baptisms organized by evangelical churches in Lake Geneva, but the same baptisms are allowed in Vaud, an area that covers the northern shore of the Lake. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance wrote in a media release that they were shocked that Geneva, the human rights capital, would take such a "restrictive and exclusionary approach to religious freedom".
Between the 9. and 10. July, unknown vandals broke into the pilgrimage church "Maria Hilf", in the city of Batzhausen, and stole 30 organ pipes and 16 gold-plated candlesticks. According to the police, the damage caused by the burglary amounts to 24,000 euros. Unfortunately, they did not stop here and caused even greater property damages: they broke the church doors open and ripped out the organ pipes, causing damage that adds up to 40,000 euros. It seems like the organ was in fact destroyed, it is unclear if it is possible to repair it or not.
On July 10, unknown people smashed the window pane of St. Stephen's Church. Traces of blood were found at the scene meaning the perpetrators injured themselves by breaking the window. The motive is not clear since nothing was missing from the church. The case was reported to the police who launched an investigation.
Between the morning of July 9 and the morning of the 10th, unknown people broke the ground-level window of St. Michael's Church, causing material damage that amounts to 300 euros. It appears that the frame was kicked with a foot which caused the pane to break. The police was alerted and are now looking for witnesses who might have information on the case.
On the 10th of July, unknown vandals sprayed the entrance door and a wooden shed of a church with two white paint graffiti inscriptions. The property damage caused has not been assessed yet but the police have been alerted and are looking into the case.
During the night of July 10, unknown vandals damaged the facade of the evangelical church in Moers with hateful red tags. The sexton could not make sense of the writings left by the vandals. He believes this act was meant to target the church, although he was "not sure if the perpetrators even knew that this is a Protestant church". The writings included the words "Pontifex" and "F*ck Masonry", among others. The case was reported to the police who handed the investigation over to State Security, due to the possibility of the attack having a political background.
During the night of July 10, an Orthodox cemetery was desecrated in the Bosnian city of Mostar. Writings on the walls of the cemetery contained threats against Serbs, leading them to report fearing for their safety. This attack was reported to the police and to the Ministry of Internal Affairs by Archpriest Nebojša Radić.
On the 8th of July, two young girls, aged between 12 and 15, vandalized a church located on Innsbruck's Spingeser Strasse. According to the police report, the two "destroyed bibles, candles, and sacrificial box candle jars". They further shattered flower pots, ripped seat cushions from the benches, and threw a statue from a pedestal. The total amount of the damages caused has not been accessed yet, but the case was reported to the police who started an investigation.
On July 8, an unknown burglar tried to break into the Grafenau parish church. A sacristan found this out when he attempted to lock the church door and was not able to because the lock had been damaged. According to the investigations, the burglar tried to pry open the door, eventually succeeding, but he left the scene without taking anything. The police are investigating to find the perpetrator.
On July 8, unknown thieves broke into the Catholic Church of St. Joseph and searched the rooms inside the building. They stole several sacred objects, "including a crucifix, monstrance, and chalice", causing a still unknown amount of property damage. The case was reported to the police who opened an investigation to find the perpetrators.
On July 7, during the procession of San Fermín in Pamplona, a group linked to the nationalist radical left, carrying slogans such as "hypocrites out" and "you will go to hell", attacked the procession that was already returning to church. They mainly targeted the politicians, spitting, booing, and using physical violence against the mayor and his entourage. Moreover, the attack also exhibited a Christianophobic character.
Between July 3 and 6, a church located on Landauer Strasse was broken into by unknown thieves. They entered a meeting room and stole electronic devices, causing damages estimated at 1000 euros. The police were alerted and are looking for clues and witnesses to find the perpetrators.
On the 6th of July, the parishioners of the Consolation church noticed the damage caused to some plants in the churchyard and Don Santo Salamone reported the case to a newspaper. Unknown people damaged a small green area that has been under the care of citizens, members of the brotherhood, and the Lycopean parish.
On the 6th of July, when an employee from the church was on his way to lock the building, he noticed that a candle cylinder and its contents from a brass stand were missing from the Basilica of St. Martin. Using the surveillance system he determined that a theft had taken place, but the identity of the perpetrators is still unknown. The case was reported to the police.
Between the evening of July 4 and the morning of July 5, unknown vandals poured a kilo of sugar into the Holy Water font of the Church of St. Joseph. The sugar was taken from the pantry with food donations in Lindlar - the baskets had been put up in the Church for a while so donators can place the food there. This has not been the first distasteful prank taking place in the Church of St. Joseph in recent months. Heinz Otto Höher says, even though nothing was stolen "we want to know who is behind it", now considering installing a surveillance system in the church, to avoid the recurrence of similar cases. Nonetheless, a good thing came out of this bad situation: "After it became known in Kirchdorf, we received numerous food donations that more than compensate for the loss of sugar".
The Italian Mario Mauro was appointed the new EU Commissioner for Religious Freedom after the position was vacant for 9 months, ever since the previous Commissioner, Stylianides, resigned. Before Stylianide's appointment, the post was vacant for 10 months, which indicates that it is not a priority for the European Commission. It only attempted to fill the vacancy after some politicians, and other figures pressed the issue.
Unknown thieves stole a historic 17th-century crown from a church in Weikersheim. According to the information provided by the police, the thieves also stole two cable drums from the church. The total amount of the valuables stolen is in the five-digit range. It was the 3rd reported theft at the church only in the month of June and the police "are examining a connection between the crimes". In the previous thefts, the unknown perpetrators stole construction equipment and building materials.
On the 29th of June, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., unknown people entered the church of St. Pantaleon in Walpertshofen and vandalized it. First, they damaged the entrance door of the church and inside tore a tile out of the wall. Then, they ripped out the pages from the hymn and prayer books and scattered them through the church. The vandals continued to damage the church by lighting candles and spreading the wax on the floor and on the pews, in addition to knocking over chairs and flowers. They fled the scene leaving significant property damage behind, which is estimated to amount to 2,000 euros. The case was reported to the police who started an investigation to find the perpetrators.
On June 29, an ancient Christian cemetery was found desecrated by local Christians. The graves were damaged, human remains were found scattered, and funerary objects were discovered tarnished across the cemetery complex. It is believed that the perpetrators acted with a bad intention, considering that June 29 is a day dedicated to "the liturgical memory of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, to whom the cemetery chapel was dedicated upon its construction in 1967". The fact that this location was targeted specifically at this time appears to be with the aim of maximizing the impact on local Christians. The vandalistic case was reported to the police and the local Christians hope that they find the vandals and bring them to justice.