JERUSALEM (CNS) — Police and church officials are treating a church break-in at the Church of the Transfiguration in Galilee as a criminal matter.
The perpetrators damaged some statues, and the contents of the donation box, thought to be less than $100, was stolen. Several chalices also were taken, as was the ciborium, after the hosts were discarded on the floor. The incident occurred the night of Oct. 23-24.
While agreeing with police initial assessments that the robbery was criminal and not a hate crime, Wadie Abunassar, director of the media committee of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, noted that just by breaking into a church to steal, the perpetrators had crossed a red line.
“They may have not known the significance of the hosts in the Christian tradition, but they know the meaning of a church,” he said.
He noted that in past hate crimes against places of Christian and Muslim worship, objects have not been stolen, and there has been more property damage and graffiti — neither of which were present at the Church of the Transfiguration.
The church, located on Mount Tabor, is traditionally revered as the site where Jesus was transfigured and spoke to Moses and Elijah. According to the Gospel it was on Mount Tabor that God first referred to Jesus as his “son.”
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land joined other churches in a statement condemning the act as a desecration and a “heinous crime …that violates the sanctity of the holy sites.”
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Catholic News Service Oct. 26 the investigation was ongoing, although no suspects had been identified.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103