A video of two intoxicated migrants near-totally destroying a church in Italy over Orthodox Easter has gone viral across social media.
The Romanian nationals entered the Roman Catholic church of the Madonna della Misericordia del Lugaresi in Cesena over the weekend on Sunday following celebrations of Orthodox Easter.
Initial speculation on social media was that the incident involved Islamic extremists, Italian newspaper Il Resto del Carlino reports — but it seems this was not the case.
Marco Censi, director of the Istituto dei Lugaresi, a local youth centre, said of the incident, “they broke glass and some benches, they cut themselves… But Islamic extremists have nothing to do with it. We should not give the incident connotations that it does not have.”
“Whoever made the video is a policeman who intervened immediately after the episode,” Censi said, going on to add, “the celebrations for the Orthodox Easter went on until late at night. Those two people had drunk too much.”
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Orthodox priest Silviu Sas, who has been granted the use of the Roman Catholic church for Orthodox services for five years, commented on the incident saying, “Until the police called me, I didn’t notice anything. We were in the church until four o’clock yesterday morning to celebrate the rites of our Easter, the liturgy and the blessing of food, then the faithful went to their own homes.”
“The church was granted to us by the Curia precisely because we keep it clean, in order, and we attend it three times a week, as agreed with Bishop Douglas,” he added, and said that nothing like this had occurred in the past among his 150 or so parishioners.
The incident comes as many churches are on high alert following the mass casualty terrorist attack in Sri Lanka over Easter weekend which targetted Christians and tourists, as well as a number of anti-Christian attacks that have occurred in Italy and in neighbouring France over the past several months.
Earlier this month in Rome a North African migrant stabbed and attempted to slit the throat of a Georgian Christian following a heated argument after the Muslim man noticed the crucifix necklace worn by the Georgian.
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