All cases

USCIRF Warns of Religious Repression in Ukraine

March 16, 2022, Ukraine

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has warned of the religious oppression that Ukraine will experience under Russian control. They have recorded the increasing religious intolerance in Russia over the years and are concerned for the societal consequences that will undoubtedly ensue. Several religious buildings have already been damaged in the shelling along with the arrests of religious leaders and those attending prayer events.

St. Cuthbert's Church Vandalized in Somerset

March 16, 2022, United Kingdom

The police were called after the St. Cuthbert's Church in Wells, Somerset was vandalized on March 16th. A door was damaged and glass was broken but no one has been found yet. After viewing some CCTV footage, the police have a man they would like to question.

Insults against Christians Written on Grenoble Chapel

March 16, 2022, France

The enclosure wall of the Saint-Marie-Saint-Michel Chapel in Grenoble was tagged with hateful messages on March 16th. The inscriptions included the phrase: "Here homophobic racists" with an arrow directed toward the door and where the word "Civitas" was also written. The incident was reported to the police who started an investigation.

Koekelberg Basilica Vandalized for 15 Days

March 15, 2022, Belgium

For the past 15 days, the Koekelberg basilica in Belgium has had cobblestones thrown through its windows by young teenagers. Other vandalism and disrespectful acts have been done at this sacred sight in the past but the recent escalation was evident. The director general, Martine Motteux-Abeloos, regrets how little the police have done and will hold talks with other leaders about potentially closing the sight to the public.

English Schools Transition Pupils without Parents Knowledge

March 15, 2022, United Kingdom

Robin Walker, Schools Minister in England, told the House of Commons' Education Select Committee that schools would continue to teach LGBTQ+ content. This came in response to Conservative MP Miriam Cates who said "you cannot change sex" and that she often got concerns from parents that their children were being transitioned in school. This posses a problem for Christian parents and children who may disagree with such teachings on a religious basis.

Woman Detained in Moscow for Holding Religious Placard

March 15, 2022, Russia

Anastasiya Parshkova was detained but not charged, on March 15th for holding a sign that had: "The 6th commandment: Thou shalt not kill" written on it. She was wearing a headscarf and stood for five minutes outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior before she was arrested and taken to the Khamovniki police station. She said: "despite my fear, I decided that this must be done."

Two Churches in Gutach and Bleibach Vandalized

March 14, 2022, Germany

The Church of St. George and the Church of St. Michael were both targeted by the same perpetrator on March 14. Police said furniture and statues were damaged and garbage was left behind. The police were looking for witnesses who could help them identify the person responsible.

Signatories of Anti-Conversion Therapy Letter in England Face Discrimination

March 14, 2022, United Kingdom

Evangelical ministers have faced a severe backlash after signing a letter to Liz Truss which expresses their opposition to the governments upcoming conversion therapy ban. Consequentially, they have had to take down the list of signatures which was published on the Ministers' Consultation Response website for fear of more acts of discrimination happening. It had collected 5,000 signatures from ministers and church leaders.

Denying Someone's Preferred Gender could be Criminalised in Scotland

March 14, 2022, United Kingdom

The SNP in Scotland have advocated for legislation that will make it a criminal offence to not "affirm" someone's preferred gender and make it illegal for parents to "refuse to support" their children in taking puberty blockers. This legislation would prevent people from legally holding to their religious beliefs on issues like gender and infringe on parental rights by not allowing parents to educate their children on sexual matters in a way they deem appropriate. The latter would disproportionately affect Christian parents who may have religiously grounded sexual guidelines.

Theft of Sacred Objects in Courcoury

March 14, 2022, France

The Saint-Martin de Tours church in Courcoury was targeted by a thief who stole consecrated hosts on March 14th. The tabernacle was broken into and a lunula, which contained a large consecrated host, was taken. The Bishop of La Rochelle, Mgr Colomb, commented on, "this act of pure hatred and denounced a very serious sacrilege committed against Christ and against his Church". He called in a "new blow of the spear in the side of Christ." An investigation was launched by the police.

Russian Orthodox Church in Oxford Looted

March 12, 2022, United Kingdom

On March 12th, the Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Oxford was looted by unknown individuals who damaged the holy alter and stole other religious items such as crosses, and altar vessels. They also broke open the church safe and stole a collection of money that was intended for Ukraine. The police were investigating the crime.

Couple Repeatedly Stole from Church in Main-Kinzig

March 11, 2022, Germany

A 34 year old man, was sentenced by the Gelnhausen judges, to two years in prison and 400 hours of community service for committing 34 thefts, 11 of which were from churches. The thefts mainly took place in the Main-Kinzig district and property damage was noticed in some instances. His girlfriend assisted him in 19 of the thefts and was also convicted. The repeated thefts of churches showed zero concern for these sacred places.

Arsonist Burns Church Doors in Lissone

March 10, 2022, Italy

The two wooden side doors of the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Lissone were set alight by an arsonist in the night of March 10th. The attack looked like the work of "Nerone", someone who has done repeated attacks of a similar nature to churches in the area. Necessary investigations were carried out by the Carabinieri the next day.

Russian Priest Arrested after He Condemns Ukraine Invasion

March 9, 2022, Russia

Rev. Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was arrested after he gave a speech that condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. His speech, given in the Karabanovo village, was said to “discredit(ing) the use of the Armed Forces” reported the BBC. His name was also on a public letter signed by 285 Russian Orthodox priests which called for an end to the war.

Scapular Stolen from Statue of Mary in Bad Steben

March 9, 2022, Germany

The scapular (small necklace) was stolen from a statue of Mary in the Queen of Peace parish church in Bad Steben. Dean Andreas Seliger was saddened by the theft and said that if someone wants a scapular, he will give it to them and they "don't have to steal it secretly."

Church in Sant Feliu Seeks Police Protection Due to Repeated Vandalism

March 9, 2022, Spain

The Collegiate Church in Sant Feliu has been targeted by repeated acts of vandalism to its porch. Because of this, the church administration has notified the police and asked them to prevent further damage. According to the administration of the church, they will only be able to stop the degradations with help of the police.

Next Step in Sweden's Ban of Religious Schools

March 8, 2022, Sweden

The Swedish Minister of Education, Lina Axelsson Kihlblom, announced the next step in the Social Democrat's plan to ban private religious schools. It will impose stricter regulations on schools that require them to report all religious activities and principals will have to pass "democratic conditions" to have their position. These new regulations have been introduced in the "democracy clause" and were justified with the need for "democratic control" of education.

Church Website Suspended for Conversion Therapy Views

March 8, 2022, United Kingdom

The website of the Stanley Road Baptist Church in Morecambe, Lancashire was suspended by its host firm Torrix since the pastor signed an anti-conversion therapy letter. This letter was addressed to Liz Truss, whose governmental department will be dealing with proposed legislation to ban conversion therapy. Matt Fletcher, the Torrix proprietor, said he cannot support anything that opposes the LGBTQ+ movement. Rev. Hewitt commented his sadness for this development, but still expressed gratefulness for the working relationship they had with Torrix.

Plans of Irish Government for Abortion Clinic Safe Zone Limits Freedom of Expression

March 8, 2022, Ireland

Stephen Donnelly, Irish Minister of Health, announced that the government plans to draft legislation regarding safe zones around abortion clinics before the Dáil summer break. This proposed law aims create a 100 meter zone around abortion facilities in which people cannot protest. This will severely restrict peoples freedom to express their beliefs on this issue, especially Christians who tend to hold pro-life views.

Feminists Deface Church in Savoy

March 8, 2022, Italy

On March 8th, the façade of the Santissima Annunziata church in Turin, was defaced with anti - Christian graffiti by feminists during National Women's Day. The floor and steps were covered with purple paint that condemned the "patriarchy" of the church. This act showed an apparent ignorance to the role Christianity has played to improve the rights of women.

Vandalism and Arson at Steißlingen Church

March 8, 2022, Germany

The church in Steißlingen was vandalized on March 8th. Perpetrators, who were not found, tipped over an assortment of objects, damaged the pulpit and microphone and set fire to some notes. The scope of the damage was not known but the police were investigating it.

Church in Montpellier Repeatedly Tagged with Anti-Christian Slogans

March 7, 2022, France

The St. Bernadette church in Montpellier, has once again been tagged with anti - Christian phrases such as, "the only church that illuminates is the one that burns". There have been a series of vandalistic attacks to this church and churches in the Montpellier area but no one has been identified despite an investigation launched by the national police.

Vandalism at Beverwijk Mennonite Church

March 7, 2022, Netherlands

The Beverwijk Mennonite Church was the victim of a vandalistic attack on March 8th. The intruder succeeded in kicking a chandelier from the ceiling but due to the lack of surveillance, was not caught. This location has also become a drug trafficking sight and cameras would help prevent that as well.

Arson Attack on Göppingen Church

March 7, 2022, Germany

An unknown arsonist set fire to the side portal of the Oberhofen church in Göppingen on the 7th of March. Pastor Hannes Gaiser said that the door now needs to be secured and that there was some smoke damage inside the church. The extent of the property damage could not be calculated yet as the organ and electrics had not been checked.

Key for Tabernacle of the St. Joseph Hospital Church in Bensheim Stolen

March 6, 2022, Germany

During the night of March 6th, burglars force their way into the St. Joseph Hospital Church and stole the key to the tabernacle. To do this, they broke through a wooden door and pushed open the door of the sacristy. The tabernacle holds the sacred hosts which shows this was a targeted act.

Burglary at Augustdorf Church

March 6, 2022, Germany

Unknown persons broke into the Augustdorf church through a broken window and a kicked in door. Once inside, the violently searched several cupboards to try and find things to steal but were unsuccessful. The police investigated the crime and were looking for more information.

Church Windows in Königsborn Broken

March 5, 2022, Germany

The windows of the Evangelical parish in Königsborn were broken on May 5th by unknown vandals. This followed a series of attacks on buildings and churches in the area.

Insulting Writings on Church in Cuneo

March 5, 2022, Italy

The side of the Santa Maria Della Pieve di Beinette church in the Cuneo area was inscribed with slanderous writings aimed at an individual in the village. The vandal who used this sacred sight to vent their personal feelings showed complete disrespect. The writings have since been removed.

4 Women in Belarus Detained by Police for Praying

March 3, 2022, Belarus

Four mothers of soldiers were detained for praying for peace in Ukraine at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. They, along with 100 other soldiers' mothers, were attending the regular evening prayer when the officers followed them into the main Orthodox cathedral of the city and after the service, demanded their documents and then took them for questioning. They were taken to the Central District Police Station and were released four hours later.

MLA's Vote in Support of Abortion Bill Despite Public Opposition

March 2, 2022, United Kingdom

MLA's in Northern Ireland voted in support of a bill that will create "safe zones" around abortion clinics despite 98 percent of the 6,412 public submissions expressing strong opposition to it. This proposed legislation, from Green Party leader Clare Bailey, will make it illegal to “influenc[e] a [person seeking an abortion], whether directly or indirectly” within “safe access zones” reported the Right to Life News. Christians who hold pro-life views will find it difficult to freely express them under this proposed legislation.

Father Maksym Kozachyna Killed in Ivankiv, Ukraine

March 2, 2022, Ukraine

Father Maksym Kozachyna, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was killed near Ivankiv on March 3rd when the Russian troops were advancing. He was in uniform at the time and an eye witness said he was pulled out of a car and shot. The Russian military has often targeted religious leaders during their invasion.

Arson to Orthodox Church in Temernik

March 2, 2022, Russia

The Svyato-Vvedensky church in Temernik caught on fire on March 2nd. Church workers said there was a broken window and a cylinder was found inside which led people to the conclusion that it was a deliberate act of arson. Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire within 15 minutes, so thankfully little damage was done.

Perpetrators Despoil and Damage Church in Villach

March 1, 2022, Austria

On March 1st, unknown perpetrators broke into the Villach parish church and tore off the metal decoration of a picture of the Virgin Mary while also stealing five gold plated candlesticks worth several hundred euros. During the police investigation, two metal bowls from the holy water font were also found near the crime scene.

Man Vandalizes Three Churches in Potenza

February 28, 2022, Italy

A man, who was not yet identified, vandalized the churches of Sant'Anna, Santa Cecilia, and Santa Croce on February 28th. He was seen on a surveillance camera and upon entering the church, he destroyed sacred books, paintings, and vestments with what appeared to be a box cutter. The incidents were being investigated and the churches were advised to close their churches when there is no one there to watch them.

War-Related Tags Graffitied on Russian Church in Nijmegen

February 28, 2022, Netherlands

For the second time, a Russian church in Nijmegen was targeted with a hateful attack. On February 28th, a black marker was used to write the words "go to hell with the Ukraine" next to the door of the church. It was written with English letters but indicated a Slavic language. A cross was also drawn underneath the text.

Man Spits on Priest in Bordeaux

February 27, 2022, France

A man, who has been identified by the police and arrested, spat in the face of a priest at the Saint Michel church in Bordeaux. Foreigners had set up stalls inside the church without permission and the police had to intervene. At the exit of the church, a priest was blessing those in the square when a man allegedly spat in his face. The priest has chosen not to press charges due to the church policy of maintaining peace.

Garbage Cans Set Alight at Church in Andernach

February 26, 2022, Germany

Four garbage cans, at the Christ Church in Andernach, where set alight by arsonists on February 26th ruining the bricks underneath and leaving some charred boards. Parts of a recently planted hedge were also burned and a two meter high fence also went up in flames. Andreas Schulte, head of the municipal office said, "This thoughtless vandalism leaves us stunned."

PCSC Bill Causes Freedom of Speech Concern

February 25, 2022, United Kingdom

Charity and Faith leaders around the UK have raised freedom of speech concerns in regard to Part 3 of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill (PCSC). This bill empowers police officers to impose conditions or arrest public demonstrators who cause “serious unease, alarm or distress”, or even “inconvenience” to members of the public. Proposed amendments will remove this part of the bill and await final votes on the 28th of February.

Armed Men Storm Church in Violent Manner

February 25, 2022, Ukraine

Armed men, dressed in military uniforms and balaclavas, broke into the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Mariupol during the administration of a baptism. They physically harmed an employee, a security guard, and the priest; and then took money from the church safe, stole food, and household items. They then concluded their rampage by fleeing in two of the clergies cars. Due to their state of shock, those who observed the act were unable to identify the criminals.

Montpellier Church Vandalised with Tags Inciting Violence

February 25, 2022, France

The parish of Sainte-Bernadette in Montpellier has been graffitied with threatening tags directed at the church and Father Benoît on 25. February. The phrases were mainly intifada and anarchist related and included "the only church that illuminates is the one that burns." Father Benoît was distressed by the act and planned to file a complaint.

Church in Niederndodeleber Vandalised

February 24, 2022, Germany

The church of St. Peter and Paul in Niederndodeleber, Germany was vandalised on February 24. Pastor Martin Zander found "numerous destructions" and smears, reported the Volksstimme as well as paper scattered everywhere. The devastation reflected a lack of respect for religious spaces.

Vases at Alter in Thizy-les-Bourgs Broken

February 24, 2022, France

Several vases at the alter of the Thizy-les-Bourgs church were broken on 24. February. It was not known who committed the act but an investigation was started.

Urn Broken in the Moux-en-Morvan Church

February 24, 2022, France

An urn, used for the exchange of payment for lighting candles, was broken in the Moux-en-Morvan church on February 21st. The contents of the urn were also stolen but it was not known who committed the sacrilegious act.

Napoli Church Defaced with Graffiti for the Second Time

February 23, 2022, Italy

After being restored for only a few days, the outer wall of the Angevin building at the Saint Marta church in Napoli was once again covered with graffiti. Writings offending the church from the first incident had been painted over but new inscriptions were there to replace them on February 23. The community has been very saddened by this vandalism of the historic church.

Church Tagged with Insults Against Priest

February 23, 2022, France

During the night of February 23rd, unknown vandals spray-painted an insult on the side of a church in Curlu, France. The insult was directed towards the parish priest Sylvain Mansart, who commented: "At least I'm not alone in this problem. (...) We comfort each other". Priests in neighbouring churches have received similar abuse. The local police confirmed these claims and are investigating.

Religious Freedom severely restricted in Donbas region

February 23, 2022, Ukraine

The organisation Forum 18 has been monitoring the human rights of Christians and other religious communities in the area of eastern Europe, and they recently published a survey on the situation in the Luhansk region in Ukraine. They state that freedom of religion is severely restricted in the rebel zone occupied by the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), which makes up a third of the Luhansk region. In this area, all Protestant and non-Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox communities are rendered illegal, there are repeated denials of permission to a Catholic priest to live in the region, Evangelical and Catholic literature is being banned and there is an overall fear about discussing these — among other — human rights violations.

16 to 18 Year Old Girls in Spain may no Longer Need Parental Consent to Abort

February 23, 2022, Spain

Irene Montero, Spain's equality minister, has told Congress's Equality Commission that 16 to 18 year old girls should be allowed to access abortion without consulting their parents. This would allow for the daughter of Christian parents to complete an abortion without them knowing or being able to advise her on this life changing event. This change has no set date yet but will greatly affect the lives of minor girls if enacted.

Repeated Abuse and Vandalism to Church in Poinger

February 23, 2022, Germany

Anonymous donors of the Seliger parish church in Poinger, have offered a 1000 euro award for information about who has been committing the repeated acts of vandalism in the church. Someone smashed signs in the church and then tried to light them. Pages were also torn from the hymn books to be used as toilet paper. Pastor Philipp Werner said "I'm sad that a church is treated with such disrespect."

Religious Statue Removal to be Decided in French Court

February 22, 2022, France

Back in 2020, a group called The National Federation for Free Thought requested that The statue of the Virgin Mary, in the village of La Flotte-en-Re France be removed. They claimed it was not in accordance with the separation of church and state. This case has now gone to court and will be decided on March 3rd. The statue was only targeted after it was hit by a car and was later rebuilt identically.

Satanist Tags on Notre-Dame de Coutances Cathedral

February 21, 2022, France

Satanist inscriptions were found on the façade of the Notre-Dame de Coutances Cathedral on the 21st of February. They were painted in black and included the words "I'm back" with a star after it and the number 666, symbolizing the devil. A complaint has been lodged about this hateful attack.