Vandals Ransacked Church and Drink Mass Wine in Belgium

Country: Belgium

Date of incident: November 6, 2022

The church of St. Bavo in Oud-Turnhout was vandalized by intruders that ransacked the back of the sacristy and emptied bottles of mass wine. "With a fire extinguisher, they also made a big hole in the wooden connecting door to the church itself," said Jos Huybreghts, treasurer of the Oud-Turnhout church council. The attack happened between the 5th and 6th of November at night. It seems that the vandals broke in through the back of the church. The police were notified and have started an investigation.

"The perpetrators forced the door to the sacristy at the back. The door frame was completely destroyed. In the sacristy, they opened and searched all the cupboards and drawers. They also tried to break open a heavy safe, but they did not succeed. At first glance, nothing was stolen. All the relics were also left as usual. Perhaps they were looking for money, but that cannot be found there. They also noticed that they had closed the curtains in the sacristy. Normally, those curtains are never closed," explained Jos Huybreghts, treasurer of St Bavo's Church. 


"They made a hole in the door with a fire extinguisher. In the end, the hole was not big enough, so no one was able to crawl through. Fortunately, they did not get into the church itself," continued Jos Huybreghts. "But the damage to the handcrafted door is significant. A number of sculptures on the door on the church side have fallen off. We can't get the door open for now either."

The church had been targeted before a few years back, which involved some youths who had thrown songbooks around. The fire extinguisher was also emptied at the time.


Jan Sels (N-VA), the alderman for Heritage and Patrimony in Oud-Turnhout, expressed his concern: "On Saturday at 5pm, a Eucharist celebration still took place in the church. Nothing was going on then...The burglary in the church building is a very regrettable matter. The perpetrators really did not have an ounce of respect."

On the same weekend, a burglary also took place in the Heilig Hartkerk on the Kerkplein in Turnhout. The thieves stole a relic. According to the police, there is no connection between the two church attacks.


Symbolic photo from Unsplash