Devastating Damage to Baroque Church by Arson and Vandalism
The historical Baroque "Church of the Cross" in Wissen has been destroyed and desecrated on the 10th of February. The police have identified a 39-year-old perpetrator, who has caused damages worth millions of euros. According to the reports, the man broke open the back door of the church by smashing it with stones, vandalized the religious symbols and set fire to the high altar, which has been completely destroyed. Two firefighter squats were able to stop the fire, they were alarmed as people noticed smoke coming out of the church.
The Betzdorf police investigated the tragedy and were able to identify a 39-year-old perpetrator, who has been arrested.
Pastor Martin Kürten has mentioned that the Church will be closed at least for the rest of 2023. The community will celebrate masses in other Parish halls. It was also reported that the damages are worth millions of euros.
Local parishioners from Westerwald Town showed solidarity with the church by bringing candles and doing devotion together at the church square.
Berno Neuhoff, mayor of the community, wrote: "People are stunned, sad and shocked, but knowledge stands together. An impressive spontaneous sign of solidarity, prayer and gesture of forgiveness in front of our church for the perpetrator(s)".
Pastor Martin Kürten has also explained that due to the severity of the damage, it probably will not be possible to celebrate Mass in the church in 2023. He expressed his sadness by saying: "One must not put the material value in the foreground here. The ideal value can simply be described as irreplaceable."
The newspaper Rhein Zeitung reported that "the 17th-century high altar was overturned by the perpetrator or perpetrators and a more than 200-year-old carpet, on which the arson was presumably committed, was destroyed,
"In addition, large parts of the 'Hecker' wall and ceiling paintings, which were restored only last year, fell victim to the flames. Furthermore, it will have to be examined whether the soot development affected the organ, which had only been renovated once again."
Sources: www.swr.de, katholisch.de, www.ak-kurier.de, de.catholicnewsagency.com, Catholic News Agency