OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Sydney, Bishop stabbed in church is not in danger. Clashes between parishioners and police

Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - The lives of Bishop Mari Emmanuel and Eastern Rite Christians - including a priest - are not in danger. They were attacked with a knife by a young sixteen-year-old in the Church of Christ the Good Shepherd in Sydney on the evening of Monday, April 15. In videos circulating on social networks and also broadcast by television channels, the young man can be seen attacking the bishop and stabbing him several times before being stopped by parishioners, some of whom were injured in turn. After the attack, the bishop and the injured were taken to a hospital for treatment. The attacker, who was initially held in the church, was later taken to a police station and arrested.

Mar Emmanuel, ordained a Bishop in the Ancient Eastern Church, was excommunicated from the ecclesial group in 2015 and gave birth to an independent community. The Bishop was known for his fervent and at times controversial sermons on controversial social and moral issues.
After the attack, tensions rose around the site and hundreds of Assyrian Christians who live in the area and who had flocked to the church grounds clashed with the police officers who had arrived. The clashes and unrest continued for several hours. About 30 people suffered bruises and minor injuries. Twenty police vehicles were damaged and several officers were hospitalized.

Australian police described the attack on the bishop and parishioners as a "terrorist act" carried out "for religious reasons," according to international agencies. However, Mike Burgess, the head of the Australian Secret Service, made it clear that the violent act currently appears to be the initiative of a lone perpetrator. He added that the investigation is ongoing and that in any case there is no urgency to increase awareness of possible terrorist threats in the country. (GV) Agenzia Fides, 16/4/2924)