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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Thieves take sacred objects, cash in break-in at famous Israeli church

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 £80, 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 23rd-24th October.

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.

Picture: People enter the Church of the Transfiguration in 2007 in the Israeli region of Galilee. Police and church officials are treating a break-in at the church as a criminal matter. (CNS photo/Greg Tarczynski).