All cases

Filtered by: Desecration

Youth 'defecates in Spanish church, smears feces on statue, walls'

August 21, 2019, Spain

Police announced on August 21st that an 18-year-old man would be charged with defecating in a shrine to the Virgin Mary and then smearing his feces on a statue of Christ and on the walls of the church, Spanish news agencies report. The incident, caught on CCTV, took place on July 26 at the Santuario de la Virgen de la Fuensanta in the Jaén provincial town of Villanueva del Arzobispo.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft and Desecration at Oise Parish

August 9, 2019, France

The church of Saint-Éloi (parish of the Bienheureuses-Carmélites-de-Compiègne), diocese of Compiegne, Oise) was robbed, vandalized, and desecrated between the 3rd and 9th of August. Sound equipment, a ciborium, an aspergillum (a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water), holy water font, and other liturgical objects were stolen. The burglars forced open the tabernacle to steal the ciborium and stole consecrated hosts, as well. "The most essential thing for us is that the tabernacle was forced, and that the Blessed Sacrament, the presence of Christ was touched, stolen. Which is for us a desecration. The real presence of Christ has been stolen. It's something strong," said the communications director of the Oise diocese.

Desecration Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandals Burned Bible and Song Book; Left Feces in Church

May 31, 2019, Germany

On May 31st, the Lutheran Nikolaikirche in Caldern was the target of vandals. Sometime between 8:30 am and 1:30 pm, unknown perpetrators entered the church, set fire to the bible and hymn book on the altar, and damaged three large candles. They also broke into a cabinet and a chest, but stole nothing. Finally, they left a pile of feces at the church entrance and another on a bench outside the church. Property damage amounted to approximately 300 euros and it is not yet clear how the perpetrators accessed the church. For the time being, the church will stay closed while investigations are ongoing.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Crucifixes Targeted at Cemetery in Montpellier

May 29, 2019, France

During the night of May 29th to 30th, twelve graves were vandalized in the cemetery Celleneuve in Montpellier (Hérault department). The perpetrators appeared to have specifically targeted crucifixes. The police closed the cemetery on the Ascension holiday to conduct an investigation. Titina Dasylva, deputy mayor in charge of security, expressed her outrage about the incident on Twitter.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Crucifix Destroyed in Płońsk

May 28, 2019, Poland

On May 28th, the Catholic Chapel of St. Padre Pio in Płońsk was the target of vandals who desecrated the chapel's crucifix by taking it off the wall and smashing it. According to the parish priest, a parishioner who came to pray in the chapel found the cross on the floor and the ceramic Jesus Christ statue from the cross broken into pieces. Police are investigating.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandals Burn Statue of Jesus in Großholbach Church

May 19, 2019, Germany

Police reported that unknown perpetrators broke in a church window with stones and invaded the interior of the church of the Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit in Großholbach (Westerwald in Rhineland-Palatinate) during the night of May 18th to 19th. Several sacred objects, including statues of saints, were broken. The Jesus figure was removed from the crucifix and burned. The intruders also urinated in the aisle and on several pews.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Etsy Admits Sale of Consecrated Hosts Violated Policy

May 16, 2019, Germany

On May 7th, an unknown buyer purchased "nine real Catholic hosts, consecrated by a priest” from a Germany-based Etsy seller for $11.58. The seller, who called himself “AL” and his business “Pentagora,” said the hosts were “to abuse for classic black fairs or black magic purposes.” In response to a petition with over 10,000 signatures demanding the online marketplace ban the sales of consecrated hosts, the company admitted that such a sale was in violation of their policies.


Christ Figure Broken in Half and Left on Church Altar

May 8, 2019, France

On May 8th, parishioners at the church of Saint-Martin d'Asson (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) discovered that a crucifix had been dismantled, and the Christ figure it supported broken in two pieces and left on both sides of the altar. A complaint was filed and police began an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Cross Broken and Trampled at Kwidzyn Cathedral

May 3, 2019, Poland

On May 3rd, a priest discovered a destroyed and trampled cross in the porch of the entrance to the church of Saint John the Evangelist in Kwidzyn, as well as a strong smelling liquid poured into the holy water font. Because the incident occurred on the Catholic feast of the Queen of Poland and Poland's Constitution Day holiday, there were many visitors and tourists around the cathedral, making it difficult to identify the perpetrators, according to the priest. The area was not covered by the security cameras in the church.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Consecrated Hosts Stolen from Deux-Sèvres Church

May 2, 2019, France

The church of Saint-Germain in Brion-prés-Thouet held a reparation Mass on May 4th after consecrated hosts in a chalice were stolen a few days earlier.

Desecration Theft

Easter Mass Disrupted in Trieste

April 21, 2019, Italy

During the Easter Mass in the church of San Giovanni, a man who was receiving communion responded to the traditional formula "the Body of Christ" by saying "thanks" and then asking "what part of the body is this?" and began walking away, carrying the consecrated host and denouncing the Catholic religion. Parishioners were shocked and one ordered the man to consume the host before leaving the building.

Desecration Insult or Incitement

Tabernacle Broken and Hosts Stolen from Montluçon Church

April 9, 2019, France

When the sacristan came to close the church of Saint-Pierre in Montluçon on the evening of April 9th, he discovered that the tabernacle had been broken open and the ciborium containing consecrated hosts had been stolen. Monsignor Laurent Percerou, Bishop of Moulins said "This act, which touches us in the heart of our faith, is a terrible and dramatic act."

Desecration Theft

Repeated Vandalism in Coesfeld Church

April 5, 2019, Germany

There were several reported incidents of vandalism in and around St.-Johannes-Kirche in Bösensell in late March and early April. A windowpane was smashed and wax was poured on the altar and on the sanctuary (chancel) lamp. Lightning rods were torn from the facade of the church, and tools were used to try to break into the Poor Clares donation box. Brochures, prayer books, and tea lights were scattered around the church, including in the holy water basin. Glass bottles containing holy water were smashed to pieces.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church of Saint-Etienne Vandalized, Hosts Desecrated in the Vendée

April 4, 2019, France

According to a statement from the mayor of Bois-de-Céné, on April 4th vandals attempted to force open the wooden door of the tabernacle in the church of Saint-Etienne and when they were unsuccessful, they tore its bottom from the wall to take the consecrated hosts. The hosts were later found on the ground. The perpetrators, who the mayor said "it appears were teenagers" also stole holy water and urinated behind the organ. The municipality condemned the acts and filed a complaint with the police.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Priest Calls Church Rampage "Spiritual Anarchism"

March 23, 2019, Austria

Unknown perpetrators entered the parish church in Leoben sometime between 11am and 2pm on March 23rd and urinated on the altar, dumped out holy water, rearranged candlesticks and pews, tore the wiring for the sound system out of the wall, draped the pew cushions on top of the altar and laid the cordons on top of them. Fifty tea lights which had been placed next to a statue of the Virgin Mary were stolen and thrown into an empty fountain 100 meters from the church.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson Attempted Twice in Senigallia Cathedral

March 19, 2019, Italy

An unidentified person set fire to the altar tablecloth in the chapel near the cathedral entrance. At about 8:30 a.m. on March 19th, parishioners and a priest noticed flames and smoke coming from a chapel altar and immediately extinguished the fire. The priest then reviewed surveillance footage and observed a man entering the cathedral and setting fire to linens in a different part of the church, as well. The police were called and began an investigation, noting that there were signs of forced entry on several doors.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration at Basilica in Charente-Maritime

March 16, 2019, France

The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope de Saintes in the Charente-Maritime department of southwestern France was desecrated on March 16th when consecrated hosts were stolen by unknown thieves. The diocese announced that a reparation Mass would be held.

Desecration Theft

Desecration at Madrid Parish

March 10, 2019, Spain

Some time between March 9th and 10th, unknown persons entered the church of San Rafael Arnáiz (Sanchinarro) and caused extensive damage, including forcing open the tabernacle door and stole the ciborium after throwing consecrated hosts on the floor. According to the priest, the low economic value of the items stolen, coupled with their religious value, suggests that this was a hate crime against Catholics during Holy Week.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Robbery and Desecration in Charente Church

March 8, 2019, France

Sometime in the morning of March 8th, between the opening of the church at 8:55 and the first Mass at 9:55, the ciborium containing consecrated hosts and a chalice were stolen from the sacristy cupboard in the church of Saint-Barthélémy in Confolens, Charente. This was the eighth church in the Charente region hit by theft and vandalism since last February.

Desecration Theft

Theft of Liturgical Objects and Desecration at Saint-Maxime Church

March 8, 2019, France

A second church in Confolens (Charente) was the victim of burglary on March 8th. The priest discovered on March 9th that the church of Sainte-Maxime had been robbed the day before, at around the same time liturgical objects had been stolen from the church of Saint-Barthélémy in Confolens. Thieves stole two chalices, three ciboriums, one of which contained consecrated hosts and was taken from the tabernacle, a large candlestick, and the ornately-embroidered altar linen from Sainte-Maxime. The priest filed a complaint and estimates a loss of tens of thousands of euros.

Desecration Theft

Dublin Church Crypt Desecrated

February 25, 2019, Ireland

Vandals stole the head from an 800-year-old mummified body, known as “The Crusader” from the crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin. The crypt was badly damaged and several of the mummies, including the 400 year old remains of a nun, were desecrated in the incident.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Satanic Desecration in Chapels Near Franciscan Monastery in Katowice

February 23, 2019, Poland

Four rosary chapels in the calvary of Panevnicka in Katowice were desecrated by vandals who painted Satanic slogans and pentagrams on the doors and walls, as well as obscene drawings of male genitalia on the statues of holy figures including Jesus. Police as well as parishioners began a search for the perpetrators.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Dijon Church Desecrated

February 9, 2019, France

On February 9th, the church of Notre-Dame de Dijon was desecrated by unidentified perpetrators. The tabernacle was opened, consecrated hosts were scattered, the altar cloth stained, and a missal was torn. A Mass of Reparation was held by the Archbishop.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Cemetery Vandalized in Kamień Krajeński

February 6, 2019, Poland

The local cemetery in Kamień Krajeński was devastated by vandals sometime between January 29th and February 6th. Nine tombstones were damaged, crosses were overturned, vases for flowers destroyed, and the arm of a statue of Christ was broken off the grave of a deceased priest. The priest of the local church said it was desecration of a place of worship. Police were alerted and began an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Police Investigate Severe Desecration at Notre-Dame des Enfants in Nîmes

February 5, 2019, France

The prosecutor's office in Nîmes opened an investigation after severe desecration was discovered in the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants. A cross was drawn on a wall with excrement on which pieces of consecrated hosts were stuck. The tabernacle was broken and other consecrated hosts were destroyed.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft from Talmont Church

February 3, 2019, France

The tabernacle was broken and the ciborium containing consecrated hosts was stolen from the church of Saint-Pierre de Talmont (Vendée) on February 3rd.

Desecration Theft

Consecrated Hosts Thrown inside Tabernacle; Ciborium Stolen

February 3, 2019, France

Before Sunday Mass on February 3rd, it was discovered that someone had broken into the tabernacle in the chapel of Sainte-Anne in Notre-Dame-et-Saint Junien Church in Lusignan, scattered the hosts, and stolen the ciborium where the hosts were stored. The police were called and began an investigation.

Desecration Theft

Theft and Desecration of Madrid Church

November 13, 2018, Spain

On the 13th of November intruders broke into the church of Nuestra Señora de Madrid, desecrated the tabernacle, stole a ciborium, a small monstrance, and other objects from the parish office. The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro, expressed his pain, his prayers, and his condemnation for this desecration to the whole parish community and will soon hold an act of reparation in the church. The police began an investigation.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church in Yvelines Desecrated

October 16, 2018, France

Police were called to the church of Sainte-Julitte de Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole after feces, urine, and a cigarette butt were discovered at the foot of the altar. A police investigation was opened and a complaint will be filed.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Huge Metal Cross Torn Down

October 7, 2018, Germany

Vandals tore down a huge 30 kilo metal memorial cross from the cemetery next to the pilgrimage church in Marienbaum. Father Jeremias Kehren, pastor of the church, expressed the shock of the community and called it an attack on the cemetery and those who mourn there: "The wickedness with which this memorial was desecrated leaves us speechless."

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Elda Hospital Chapel Desecrated

July 28, 2018, Spain

At about 10pm on Saturday the 28th of July 2018, vandals broke open the tabernacle of the chapel of the Virgen de la Salud Hospital in Elda (Alicante) and stole the ciborium with the consecrated hosts. The ciborium was later found in the parking lot and the consecrated hosts were scattered around the entrance area of the hospital. Some were found lying on the sidewalk and trampled. The parishes in the area held acts of reparation for the desecration and to pray for the conversion of perpetrators. The police began an investigation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

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 of church in Madrid

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

Serbian Orthodox Chapel turned into Public Toilet

October 3, 2016, Kosovo

A recently repaired and cleaned cemetery chapel was turned into a public toilet and a garbage dump, with many graves overrun with weeds, despite a custodian employed by the Priština municipality.

Desecration Freedom of Religion

Saint-Henri in Neuilly-Plaisance Desecrated and Burglarized

September 26, 2016, France

During the night from September 25 to 26th, one or more individuals broke into the church. Once inside, they stole the collection box containing donations to the church. They opened the tabernacle and threw the consecrated Hosts on the floor.


Moroccan Man Arrested for "Islamist" Attack on Spanish Church

September 8, 2016, Spain

A Moroccan man admitted setting a fire that destroyed an ancient altarpiece and beautiful images in the church of Fontellas in Navarre on September 8, the day recognized by Catholics as of the Nativity of the Virgin (the day of the birth of the Virgin Mary).

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Desecrated in Grandate

August 13, 2016, Italy

During the night of August 13, 2016, unknown persons forced open the door of the church of San Bartolomeo in the Como province and attempted to break open the tabernacle containing consecrated Hosts, broke the marble lectern, and topped the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, breaking her hands and nose.

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

Venice Church the Site of Two Anti-Christian Incidents

August 7, 2016, Italy

Four women wearing headscarves entered the Church of San Zulian, approached the crucifix, and spat on it. They then moved among the tourists undetected. The day before, on July 6, 2016, two young men, described as "Asians," received Communion, and then spat out pieces of the Host onto the ground and fled.

Desecration Insult or Incitement Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Desecration at Church in Les Herbiers

July 18, 2016, France

Four young men broke into the church of Saint-Pierre and overturned benches, broke vases, and emptied a fire extinguisher. They urinated and defecated in the holy water on the altar and on the altar itself.

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

Church in Toulouse Profaned and Vandalized

July 14, 2016, France

The church of Saint-Pierre des Chartreux was vandalized: The tabernacle door was torn off and part of the book collection of the prayers of the faithful was burned. Other objects were overturned. A police report was filed.

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

Evangelical Church Burned in Calais

July 12, 2016, France

No casualties were reported, but the damage was considerable: the roof collapsed and the building was destroyed. The cause of the fire is being investigated and arson has not been ruled out.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Man Burst into Church and Smashed Ancient Crucifix to the Ground

July 12, 2016, Italy

The young man of North African origin rushed into the church of St. Jeremiah, in Cannaregio, Venice and threw a large crucifix to the floor, heavily damaging the religious artifact.

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

Arsonist Arrested for Abbey Fire

July 10, 2016, France

A 42-year old man confessed to setting at least fifteen fires including one that damaged the Abbey Saint-Austremoine in Issoire on July 3. The blaze, which destroyed a confessional, a table and some chairs, was quickly extinguished. The fire caused great upset among the population. The suspect was indicted for "intentional damage by dangerous means to people."

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church Desecrated in Messina

July 3, 2016, Italy

The church of Santa Elena was the victim of desecration, theft, and vandalism on July 3rd. The parish priest discovered the tabernacle completely emptied, smashed and detached from the wall. A statue of the Virgin Mary was decapitated, and a ciborium full of consecrated Hosts was stolen, along with an ancient reliquary containing a fragment of the Holy Cross.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bonn Basilica Vandalized

June 21, 2016, Germany

A 24-year-old man was arrested after he entered the crypt of the shrine to the city patrons Cassius and Florentius and caused extensive damage to the crypt, tabernacle, and the sarcophagus in which the relics of the saints are held.

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

Two Church Fires in a Weekend in Narón

June 11, 2016, Spain

In the early hours of Friday, June 10th to Saturday, June 11, two clearly intentional fires were discovered in two different churches in Narón. Each resulted in significant damage to the religious buildings. Incendiary devices were found in both churches. The fires were investigated by agents of the state security forces, as well as the local Narón police.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church the Victim of Two Fires in One Day

May 24, 2016, Belgium

In Mont-Sainte-Geneviève, two fires significantly damaged an historic church. The first started in the sacristy. The fire fighters had just left the scene after managing to control that fire when another much bigger fire in the church roof was reported.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Incidents in Churches in the Same Region in Just Two Weeks

May 22, 2016, France

In a press release Father Benoît Delabre reported that on May 15th the altar in the Church of St. Madeleine-de-l'Île was set on fire in Martigues, about 800 kilometers south of Paris. On the same day, another unknown person desecrated the tabernacle which contained the consecrated hosts in the church at Jonquières in the same region. Additionally, Father Delabre himself was attacked a week later by a man he caught at the church door who appeared to be “trying to steal something.”

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Evangelical Church Attacked in Manosque

May 18, 2016, France

An Assemblies of God church in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azurin was the victim of arson. Bibles and other books inside the church were stacked up and burnt, according to Pastor Alain Denizou.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson in Calais Church

March 28, 2016, France

L’église Saint-Pierre suffered deliberate damage during the afternoon of Easter Monday: five separate fires started inside the building while it was open to the public. The abbot has filed a complaint.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft of Consecrated Host in Andalucia

March 11, 2016, Spain

In the afternoon of March 11th, a small container holding the consecrated host was stolen from the Franciscan Monastery in Jaén.

Desecration Insult or Incitement

Serbian Orthodox Church Desecrated and Looted in Kosovo

February 28, 2016, Kosovo

On February 28th, Slobodan Djoric, the priest of the Church of the Dormitition of the Most Holy Mother of God in Pejčići, reported to the police that the 17th century church had been the victim of theft and vandalism.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)