ISRAEL – Basilica of the Transfiguration vandalised in latest attack on Christians
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has condemned the recent acts of vandalism against the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in the Holy Land. Vandals entered the church and stole a chalice “after removing all the hosts that were dropped on the ground.” Representatives of the Patriarchate denounced the vandals who “desecrated the wafers, which are the substantial presence of Christ.” In addition they said “some images of the Church were vandalized and place for offerings was emptied.”
The Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor is a major pilgrimage site for Christians. At the Transfiguration, Christ went up the mountain to pray and revealed his divinity to his disciples Peter, James, and John.
A statement issued by the Patriarchate says: “The Latin Patriarchate condemns these hurtful acts that are a desecration of holy places …. We asked the police to conduct research and arrest the perpetrators of these outrageous actions.” Church officials believe robbery was the main motive in this instance. Unlike previous attacks, this time there was no graffiti painted on the church.
It is not the first time that events like this happened in the region. Groups of Jewish settlers have carried out attacks on places of worship frequented by the Arab population including both churches and mosques. Repeated acts of vandalism and other forms of intimidation against Christian holy places have been going on since February 2012.
The Latin Catholic monastery monastery of Deir Rafat was vandalised several times. Blasphemous graffiti was put on the walls of two houses belonging to Deir Rafat. Marks in Hebrew expressed “blasphemies against Jesus and the Virgin Mary.” In January this year, the cemetery next to Beit Gemal Salesian monastery in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem was desecrated. Wooden crosses and many tombs were destroyed.