Strasbourg, France, April 8, 2022
Photo: Facebook There have been a number of acts of vandalism and attacks against Russian Orthodox churches in Canada, Australia, Europe, and throughout the world since the start of the fratricidal war in Ukraine in late February.
Among the most recent was the vandalism of the Church of All Saints in Strasbourg, France, and a number of attacks in South America.
“On the morning of April 5, two giant Z’s were painted in red on two bulletin boards of the Russian Orthodox Church of All Saints in Strasbourg,” the parish rector Fr. Philip Ryabykh reports.
Fr. Philip also serves as the Moscow Patriarchate’s representative to the European Council.
“Well, we suffer together with all the suffering. We carry our cross of reproach in the days of Great Lent,” he writes.
“Probably, they want to stigmatize us all, as they once did Jews in the Third Reich. They painted the Star of David on the houses there, and we have a red letter Z to turn us into a target for violence. Is there a collective responsibility based on national or religious grounds in a civilized society?” he continues, noting that the parish opposes the war, and has been praying for peace and has housed and sheltered 11 Ukrainian refugees.
“Unfortunately, it is in some Ukrainian groups created on social networks in Strasbourg that hatred of our Russian Church of All Saints is propagandized. We have at our disposal all the evidence and screenshots of such publications. At the same time, our community has never allowed itself to say something insulting to the Ukrainian language or culture,” Fr. Philip states.
The matter has been filed with the French police, though they have yet to investigate or take any other actions, the rector told RIA-Novosti.
Meanwhile, three parishes of the Russian Church’s Diocese of Argentina and South America were vandalized in the past week.
The diocese reports that early in the morning of March 31, a group of intruders attacked the Church of the Hodigitria Mother of God in the Brazilian capital of Brasília. The vandals broke several church windows, shouting, “Russia, get out!” and “Putin is a murderer!”
Later that day, a Z was painted on the fence of the Church of the Holy Martyr Zenaida in Rio de Janeiro. Both incidents are being investigated.
On April 2, the Diocesan Cathedral of the Annunciation in Buenos Aires vandalized, after which His Grace Bishop Leonid of Argentina and South America sent an appeal to the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs and the State Department for the Registration of Religions of the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Slogans were painted on the church in green, “insulting not only the sensibilities of our faithful, but also the sense of our national dignity,” Bp. Leonid writes.
Such acts serve only to bring discord between the peoples of Russia and Argentina, His Grace emphasizes.