All cases

Filtered by: Desecration

Robbery of Saint-Pierre d'Equainville

July 21, 2018, France

During the night between the 20th and the 21st of July 2018 the church Saint-Pierre d'Equainville, in the parish of Beuzeville, was robbed. The offenders entered by the sacristy door and stole everything that was of value: liturgical objects and candle holders. They rummaged through everything and scattered unconsecrated Hosts in the sacristy. Finally, they broke the tabernacle and stole the ciborium filled with consecrated Hosts. A complaint was filed and the police came to investigate.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration and Vandalism in Chiesa di San Clemente in Latera

July 21, 2018, Italy

Sometime in the morning of July 21st, vandals entered the San Clemente church and threw holy water to the ground, scattered the cloth and liturgical object from the altar, and left feces underneath the altar table. Police immediately began an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Priest Closed Church after Finding Urine in Holy Water

July 9, 2018, Italy

After discovering urine in the holy water in the Chiesa Santa Croce (better known as "Chiesa dei Morti” or "church of the dead") in Canneto Sull'Oglio, the parish priest decided to close the church for a few days. The church is a sacred place for the local community, as the walls of the church have been covered with photos, plaques, and headstones of deceased loved ones since 1630.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism and Desecration at Madrid Church

July 9, 2018, Spain

The church of San Bartolomeo in the municipality of Fresnedillas de la Oliva was robbed and desecrated. The intruders tore the tabernacle off the wall and threw it to the ground, left sacred objects scattered on the floor and stole the money from the offering boxes. The sacristy and the catechism rooms were ransacked. The ciborium containing consecrated Hosts was overturned and the contents were scattered on the floor. The incident was reported to the police and the Archbishop of Madrid scheduled a Reparation Mass.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Convictions in Czech Church Arson Case

June 28, 2018, Czech Republic

Three young men were convicted of arson for setting fire to the 16th century Božího Těla (Corpus Christi) church in Guty, Třinec. The regional court of Ostrava sentenced them to 9, 8, and 3.5 years in prison for setting fire to the church in August 2017. The Roman Catholic church had been listed as a cultural and historical monument and was among the oldest preserved wooden churches in the Czech Republic. The August 2017 fire caused damage of over 20 million korun. The historical value of the building and its artifacts, however, is not quantifiable.  

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Abandoned Church Suffers Gross Desecration

June 6, 2018, Italy

A passerby discovered that unknown people had entered the abandoned church of Santa Corona in Garbagnate Milanese desecrated the interior.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration and Theft in the Church of San Giacomo di Monselice

May 14, 2018, Italy

On May 14th, witnesses discovered that the tabernacle had been desecrated and two ciboriums containing consecrated Hosts had been stolen from the church of San Giacomo de Monselice. This was the 3rd robbery in the Padua diocese in five months.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism at Recklinghausen Parish

April 25, 2018, Germany

The parish of St. Peter in Recklinghausen has been the victim of repeated acts of vandalism, including people frequently urinating in the church, donation boxes being broken, mulled wine being poured into the holy water, and candles being used by drug addicts to heat their drugs. The church is open to the public every day until 6:00 pm.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Devastation in Saxony's Oldest Town Church

April 22, 2018, Germany

An unidentified person climbed the facade of the Kilianskirche in Bad Lausick, smashed a 4-meter stained glass window, and entered the church sometime between 10:30 pm and 12:30 am during the night of April 21st to 22nd. Once inside, the vandal severely damaged the carved late Gothic altar and pulpit with a sword. A chandelier was shattered onto the ground and a candlestick was damaged. Disastrous damage was avoided after altar candles, deliberately left burning in the wooden tower, went out before causing a fire.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft in Torás Church

April 11, 2018, Spain

A band of thieves entered the church of Santa Quiteria during the night of April 11th, opened the tabernacle and stole a golden chalice containing consecrated Hosts, the most precious item for its religious value. They also destroyed donation boxes and took all the money. 

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism and Theft at Warmifontaine Church

April 6, 2018, Belgium

Unidentified perpetrators looted the church of Saint-Martin in Warmifontaine, breaking open the tabernacle with a crowbar, and stealing ciboriums containing consecrated Hosts, chalices, and hand-carved statues.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Deliberate Act of Desecration

April 2, 2018, France

On Easter Monday, the church of Domois in Fénay was desecrated and ransacked. Intruders shattered doors, broke objects, scattered candles, flowers, tablecloths, and religious symbols, church furniture and other items were destroyed. Tabernacles were opened and consecrated hosts were trampled and scattered all over.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Court Ruled 2015 Desecration of Cemetery was "Anti-Christian" Attack

March 29, 2018, France

On March 29th, the Court of Appeals in Toulouse ruled that Mohamed B., who desecrated and vandalized 215 graves, knocked down and broke crosses and other Christian symbols in a cemetery in Castres in 2015, was civilly liable for the religiously-motivated act. He had been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness, but on appeal, the court found him personally liable for compensation to AGRIF (Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identité française et chrétienne).

Desecration Hate Crime Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Great Yarmouth Church Desecrated Days Before Easter

March 27, 2018, United Kingdom

A man walked into St Mary’s Catholic Church, set a couple of small fires and attempted to burn the icon taken off the church’s altar. The perpetrator left a Satanic image in the icon's place. The act was recorded by CCTV cameras and police arrested a suspect days later.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson at Saint-Gildas Church in Auray

March 4, 2018, France

On the afternoon of March 4th, a parishioner discovered thick smoke inside l'église Saint-Gildas. She observed two young women running from the church and immediately contacted the authorities. Firefighters discovered 10 separate fires had been set inside.

Desecration Hate Crime

Desecration and Theft of Consecrated Hosts from Spanish Parish

December 26, 2017, Spain

During the night between 26th to 27th of December the parish church of San Francisco de Sales in Parla, in the Community of Madrid, was desecrated when the tabernacle containing consecrated hosts was stolen. 

Desecration Theft

‘Crucified Cow’ Displayed in Catholic Church by Artist as Comment on Wastefulness

November 23, 2017, Belgium

An “art” exhibit depicting 500 kg cow nailed to a cross hanging over a basin with 5,000 liters of milk was installed in the small parish church of Saint John the Baptist of Kuttekoven, in the Flemish town of Borgloon. The artist's message was to draw attention to food waste and housing shortages.

Desecration Insult or Incitement

Galway: Church Interior Found Devastated

October 26, 2017, Ireland

On the 26th of October, the Holy Trinity Church on Errislannan peninsula in Galway was completely desecrated by vandalism.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration in Madrid Church

September 6, 2017, Spain

Unknown perpetrators broke into the parish of the Virgin of Bethlehem in Alcalá de Henares during the night of 5th and 6th of September 2017. They looted the altarpiece of the high altar, including the tabernacle containing consecrated Hosts, the ciborium of a chapel and a small monstrance containing a consecrated Host. The attackers threw the consecrated Hosts on the floor. Police were called and a Mass of Reparation was scheduled.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Profaned in Layrac: Young People Smoked Shisha on the Altar

August 31, 2017, France

After a report of continuing disorderly conduct in the church of Saint Martin de Layrac, surveillance equipment revealed that a group of young people had been sitting on the altar smoking the lighted shisha with candles during the month of August. The police intervened and the parents were summoned.


No Charges Filed against Porn Makers for Church Sex Film in Tilburg

August 15, 2017, Netherlands

Prosecutors rejected a complaint from Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Tilburg after two actors were filmed having sex in the confessional box. The video was posted on a Dutch porn website earlier this year. Dutch authorities said the pornographic film was offensive but there was no longer a blasphemy law in the Netherlands. A reparation Mass was held due to the desecration in the church.


Church Desecrated in Villarreal

July 14, 2017, Spain

The Basilica San Pascual de Villarreal was desecrated on July 14, 2017. One or more perpetrators forced open the tabernacle and stole the ciborium containing consecrated hosts. This act of desecration requires that a Mass of reparation be celebrated according to Canon Law.


University Chapel Attacked with Incendiary Devices

June 23, 2017, Spain

The chapel of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), the second most important public university in the region and one of the main universities in Spain, was attacked with incendiary devices thrown through a window early in the morning of June 23, 2017. In addition to trying to destroy the chapel, the perpetrators left the slogan "The only church that illuminates is the one that burns" on the walls.,

Desecration Hate Crime Insult or Incitement

Cemetery Desecrated in Pondrôme

June 18, 2017, Belgium

During the afternoon on June 18, 2017, the cemetery of Pondrôme in Belgium was vandalized. Unknown vandals entered the cemetery and desecrated several graves, destroyed crosses, plaques and other memorial items on the burial sites. The reaction of the villagers of Pondrôme was one of anger and incomprehension. The Mayor Marc Lejeune filed a complaint with the police after being informed of the vandalism and said citizens should not be quick to assume the vandals came from the Fedasil refugee accommodation, which is next door to the cemetery.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Photographer and Naked Model Caught in Church

June 13, 2017, France

A photographer taking pictures of a naked model were caught in the center aisle of the church Saint-Antoine de Compiegne in Oise in front of the altar by two parish members who went to the church to pray the rosary for the Christians of the East.

Desecration Insult or Incitement

Mass Desecration of Serbian Orthodox Graves

June 6, 2017, Kosovo

During their annual visit to the Serbian Orthodox Cemetery in Mitrovica Kosovo, relatives discovered that 90 percent of the graves had been desecrated. Tombstones had been destroyed and broken on the ground. The grieving families were shocked and deeply hurt by this destruction and desecration.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Swastika Graffiti Discovered in Cemetery

June 4, 2017, France

According to a witness, blue swastika graffiti was found on at least four graves in the Causses-et-Veyran Cemetery on June 4, 2017. One of the graves attacked with a swastika was a bas-relief depicting mourners holding Christ after his death on the cross. The grave plaques belonged to the same family, other items from the graveyard were also moved and thrown on the ground.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Several Cemeteries Vandalized across France

May 31, 2017, France

Between May 24th and May 31st, 2017, four cemeteries in France have been vandalized. The cemeteries have had their graves, including Christian graves, desecrated, crosses, vases and grave plaques destroyed to various degrees. Each cemetery has had their own suspects and three people have been identified and questioned by the local police, two cemeteries suspects remain unknown.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cemetery Vandalized in Saint-Brès

May 27, 2017, France

Two teenagers entered the cemetery of Saint-Brès France and destroyed two graves, crosses, statues, and grave plates. The police were called and the two teenagers were identified through surveillance cameras.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross at General De Gaulle's Grave Vandalized

May 27, 2017, France

Two unknown perpetrators were seen entering the cemetery of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, where General de Gaulle's grave is located. One of the two men was suspected of having climbed on the grave and reversed the cross of the grave. Police are investigating.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cemetery Desecrated in Fouchécourt

April 22, 2017, France

It is estimated that a dozen graves were desecrated, including Christian graves, and one coffin was opened at a cemetery near Fouchécourt between the 21st and 22nd April 2017. The local community is upset and angry.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Complaint Discussed for 2016 Cemetery Desecration

April 13, 2017, France

In the summer of 2016, a video circulated on the internet showing a model posing on the graves in a cemetery in Tarn-et-Garonne, France. The local residents discovered this video and filed a complaint with the county council. In January 2017, another video with the same model, the same poses, and the same location was found online and the local residents filed another complaint to the county council. This county council discussed in April 2017 whether to lodge a formal complaint in order to bring the matter before an investigating judge.


Cemetery Vandalized and Tombs Destroyed

April 13, 2017, Belgium

In Ougrée, Belgium more than 50 graves were vandalized, several dozen tombs were destroyed and the crosses on the graves were thrown on the ground. The families of the deceased are upset that such vandalism occurred. This is the second time this month that the cemetery has been attacked.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

At Least Four Shrines Vandalized in Saint-Expédit

April 4, 2017, France

On April 4, 2017 a witness reported the disappearance and decapitation of several religious statuettes in roadside shrines in Saint-Expedit, in the east of Réunion. This comes two days after the devastation of the site of the Black Madonna. In a shrine at the exit of the village of Bois-Blanc, the body, foot, and head of a statuette were left broken and scattered on the altar. The other statues had been taken, but offerings remained untouched. Nearby, at a shrine on the way to Cambourg in Saint-Benoît, four statuettes were decapitated. On the route de la Plaine, the well-known shrine, all statues were missing, and an auditor confirmed that this was also the case in the shrine located in the Jamaican sector in Saint-Denis.

Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Site of the Black Madonna Ransacked on Réunion; Cross of the Jubilee Destroyed

April 2, 2017, France

On April 2, 2017, a groundskeeper discovered the statue of the Black Madonna Rivière-des-Pluies (la Vierge Noire à la Rivière-des-Pluies) had been thrown to the ground and completely destroyed at a religious site where many faithful go to pray. The Cross of the Jubilee, placed in front of the church, was also vandalized. The priest of the parish expressed shock and disappointment that “people will desecrate holy places” and said that the site would be temporarily closed while the gendarmerie investigated. Parishioners expressed shock, sadness, and anger at the destruction.

Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Thirty-two Graves Desecrated at the Batignolles Cemetery in Paris

March 20, 2017, France

Between 16 and 20 March, 2017 during the night, 32 graves - mostly Christian - were excavated and searched. Officials presume the perpetrators were looking for valuables. A thorough inspection of the cemetery of 15,000 graves, on about ten hectares, was carried out. Surveillance of the premises was strengthened.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Historic Church the Victim of Arson

February 12, 2017, United Kingdom

The Church of the Ascension in Salford was completely destroyed by a fire which was described as arson by police. It was built in 1869 and had recently undergone a £250,000 restoration with funds raised over three years. CCTV footage reportedly shows a young man running from the church at the time the fire broke out.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson in Private Chapel in Omessa

February 6, 2017, France

The owner of the chapel of Santa Rita, which he renovated, discovered the door had been forced open, cards and a rosary were left on the altar and set on fire. Luckily, the fire did not spread to the rest of the chapel.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Convent in Avon the Victim of Theft and Desecration

January 31, 2017, France

Unknown perpetrators broke into the convent of the Carmelites of Avon during the night of January 31, 2017, stole computer equipment, holy objects, and broke open the tabernacle containing consecrated Hosts.

Desecration Hate Crime

At Least 30 Tombs Vandalized and Profaned in Finistère

January 7, 2017, France

Some time in the night of January 6 - 7, at least 30 graves in the cemetery of Brennilis were vandalized, with crosses and crucifixes overturned or broken and headstones toppled. Police are investigating.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christmas Nativity Set on Fire on Eve of Epiphany Holiday

January 6, 2017, France

Unknown perpetrators intentionally set fire to the straw at the base of the nativity scene in the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne, burning all of the figures. The Archbishop expressed the pain of the community, saying that the display expresses the heart of the Christian faith.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel in St. Radegund Damaged by Vandals

January 1, 2017, Austria

On New Year's Eve, unknown perpetrators vandalized a chapel, damaging a statue of the Virgin Mary and burned prayer books and wooden objects nearby. Damages are estimated at around 1,000 euros. Police are investigating.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel in Brunau am Inn the Victim of Theft and Vandalism

January 1, 2017, Austria

Unknown perpetrators beheaded a statue of St. Barbara and stole a Christ figure from a cross and several other sacred objects. Damage is estimated at around 5,000 euros. Police are investigating.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Desecrated in Crete

December 18, 2016, Greece

Unknown perpetrators entered the Orthodox church of the Archangel Michael near Lagoliou, set sacred books on fire in the sanctuary, and sprayed "Allah is great" in Arabic on the walls.

Desecration Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Priest Attacked While Celebrating Mass

November 17, 2016, Spain

While he was celebrating Mass in the parish church of Nuestra Señora de Covadonga in Madrid, Fr. Lino Hernando was attacked at the altar by an unknown person who threw him to the ground, kicked and insulted him. The aggressor also threw around consecrated Hosts and other worship items from the altar. The police were immediately alerted and arrested the perpetrator.

Desecration Hate Crime

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Artist Who Stole Consecrated Hosts

November 16, 2016, Spain

Abel Azcona stole more than 240 consecrated hosts from Masses celebrated in the cities of Madrid and Pamplona. He later took nude photos of himself arranging them on a floor to spell the word ‘pederasty.’ He was charged with an offense against laws respecting religious sentiments. However, on November 16, 2016, a judge dismissed the case against Azcona. In his ruling, the judge described the consecrated and stolen hosts as “small white round objects.” He claimed that there had been no desecration of the sacred hosts because according to the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary desecration is defined as “treating something sacred without due respect or using it for profane purposes.”

Access to Justice and Legal Services Desecration Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Stolen Tabernacle and Ciborium Found in Cemetery

November 10, 2016, Spain

The Bishop of San Sebastián reported that the tabernacle and ciborium containing consecrated Hosts which had been stolen from the chapel earlier in the week had been found in a cemetery. The ciborium was empty.


Desecration in Cemetery Chapel

November 7, 2016, Spain

In a letter to members of his diocese on November 9, 2016, Bishop José Ignacio Munilla, Bishop of San Sebastián, denounced "a very grave desecration against the Blessed Sacrament" committed in the cemetery chapel of Polloe. The tabernacle was stolen, as was the ciborium and the consecrated Hosts it contained. The bishop announced a reparation Mass would be celebrated in the same chapel on November 20th.


Thieves Desecrate Church of Santa Maria in Ocaña; Steal Valuable Objects

October 17, 2016, Spain

The intruders gained access to the church after breaking a fence and window. They stole consecrated Hosts that were in the tabernacle and stole valuable religious jewelry, left other Hosts and various objects lying on the floor, and vandalized numerous images of virgins and saints.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Serial Church Arsonist Expelled from Spain; Banned from Schengen for 10 Years

October 7, 2016, Spain

Spanish authorities expelled the Moroccan man who admitted setting a fire in a church that destroyed several images of the Virgin Mary and then violating a restraining order by destroying a cross atop another church in September.

Desecration Hate Crime