Greek Orthodox Church Asks For Protection Following 'Heinous Terrorist Attack'


The Greek Orthodox Church declared a heinous terrorist attack following the violent attack on a priest and attempted to harm Archbishop Joachim, who reportedly led the service when the attack was made. As a result, the church is calling for an 'international protection of holy sites.'

'Heinous Terrorist Attack' In Greek Orthodox Church

On Sunday, March 19, the Israeli police stated that a 27-year-old citizen of southern Israel had been arrested concerning a violent incident at the church in annexed East Jerusalem. Still, they provided no other information on the suspect's name. The Catholic Review reported that a church near the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem was the target of what the Greek Orthodox Church referred to as a 'heinous terrorist attack.'

They condemned the attack on a church priest and the attempt to harm Archbishop Joachim, who was leading the service, and asked for an 'international protection of holy sites.' "Terrorist attacks, by radical Israeli groups, targeting churches, cemeteries, and Christian properties.. have become almost a daily occurrence that increases in intensity during Christian holidays," the church added.

The incident occurred amid the Lenten holidays, during which the city was bustling with tourists on spiritual pilgrimages throughout Israel. A vendor named Bilal Abu Nab, who works near the church, reported that a priest had been injured in the forehead and that the police had been contacted but did not appear for more than half an hour after the initial call. The police said the suspect who was detained had entered the church with an iron bar, and no one was reported hurt except the priest, who the vendor stated was injured. It is suspected that the attacker struggles with mental health concerns.

However, it was stated there had been multiple attacks on Christian sites in Jerusalem over the past few months, and one of those attacks was on the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem. As per The Times of Israel, the Church of the Condemnation, which Christians believe to be the location where Jesus was flogged and sentenced to death, a statue of Jesus Christ was defaced in February. A tourist from the United States was taken into custody as the suspect. 

A month before, scores of Christian tombs had been desecrated in an Episcopal cemetery on Mount Zion, believed by Christians to have been the location of Jesus's Last Supper. After some time had passed, two Israeli Jewish adolescents were detained on suspicion of having committed the act of vandalism. Additionally, Israeli and Palestinian peace efforts have been stuck in a rut since 2014, and the violence between the two sides has only worsened this year.

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Islamic Terrorist Attack On Churches

According to St. Louis Review, churches in South and Southeast Asia, which have a combined population of 150 million Catholics and other Christians, have been the target of attacks in an increasing number of countries in recent years. In the past year alone, violent extremists from the Islamic faith have detonated bombs inside churches in the Philippines and Indonesia, claiming innocent lives.

Authorities in Sri Lanka and Australia have independently confirmed that those responsible for the attack in Sri Lanka had connections to Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the incident. Zahran Hashim, a militant cleric the authorities suspect was one of the suicide attackers at the Shangri-La Hotel, has been identified as the founder and leader of the now-prohibited National Thowheeth Jama'ath group, which was responsible for the explosions. DNA testing is currently being carried out to verify it.

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