Belgian Bishop Violently Assaulted and Robbed by ‘Foreign Men’

New bishop of Liege Jean-Pierre Delville takes part in his consecration ceremony on July 14, 2013 in Liege. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / ANTHONY DEHEZ (Photo credit should read ANTHONY DEHEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Belgian Roman Catholic Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville was assaulted earlier this week by “foreign men” during a home invasion, according to the diocese of Liège.

The thieves broke into the bishop’s residence either late at night on Tuesday or early on Wednesday morning through a window on the ground floor leading into a lavatory. After entering the building the men, who were all masked, physically assaulted the bishop along with his godson who was also present in the home, Belgian magazine Le Vif reports.

According to a statement released by the diocese, the men threatened the bishop and demanded cash, thinking that all of the money from the entire bishopric would be located there.

Instead, Bishop Delville handed over money he was keeping for his godson that was to go toward an upcoming foreign trip as there was no other cash in the house.

“They then asked for gold: the Bishop could only give the three chalices kept in the oratory and the chapel of the bishopric, then they asked for valuable paintings and demanded Picasso,” the statement said.

The suspects in the theft were identified as foreigners, with the diocese claiming “they spoke German as well as an unidentified foreign language and spoke poorly in French.”

After tying up both the bishop and his godson, who were both found the next morning, the thieves left with an estimated 20,000 euros in property and cash.

The raid comes only weeks after another high-profile theft from a church in Sweden, in which the funeral crown of former Swedish King Charles IX, along with the funeral crown of his wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, was stolen from the town of Strängnäs.

Several attacks on churches have also occurred in recent months in neighbouring France, with arrests being made in connection with attempted church arson attacks as well a threat from a Muslim to blow up a cathedral Chalon-sur-Saône because the Qu’ran was not being read.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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