Arson at the Church of Tabgha
TABGHA – The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Galilee, was set on fire at dawn on Thursday, June 18, 2015. There is considerable damage to the property and two were injured.
The Christian community in the Holy Land once again, woke up dismayed after the violent attack on the Church of Tabgha on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The fire broke out in the night and was controlled by firefighters who arrived at 3:30 a.m. A video shows the extent of fire that damaged much of the cloister located in front of the church. The losses are estimated at several million shekels. Even worse is that an elderly Benedictine monk and a young volunteer who were in the Church were injured and transported to the hospital from toxic smoke inhalation.
Hebrew words were spray painted on the walls – drawn from the text of praise recited three times a day by observant Jews “Aleinou LeShabeah”, a request for God to destroy the idols and pagans.
This same church was vandalized in April 2014: the cross and an altar were the target of a barrage of stones and spitting by a gang of young people between 13 and 15 years old.
This new event does not promote peace among peoples of all religions. Furthermore, this act of violence does not encourage pilgrims and tourists, very present in Tabgha, to visit the Holy Land.
Voices are already rising, as the political sphere of the Christian community seek an urgent and speedy investigation to strongly condemn the perpetrators of this vicious and disgraceful madness.
Bishop Giacinto Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel has already visited the Benedictine community and the site early in the morning for preliminary inspection.
A statement from the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (ACOHL) will be released soon.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt