Police have arrested a man who allegedly smashed windows of a historic Catholic church in Leicester, England while denouncing “parasitic Christians.”
The vandalism occurred on the morning of December 29th at the Dominican-run Holy Cross Priory in downtown Leicester when a man threw a “piece of concrete or large object” through one of the windows of the church’s Lady chapel. The Priory said the incident was part of a “crime wave” targeting the building.
A second incident occurred later the same morning, the Priory reported on its Facebook page.
“Most likely the same individual returned and has smashed more of the adjacent windows in the lady chapel area. A 999 call was made, since the suspect was on Wellington Street shouting abuse at one of our team at Holy Cross,” the post reads.
WATCH: Man Rips Down Cross on London Church in Broad Daylight https://t.co/S2SSoIrtfg
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Father Luke Doherty, the bursar at the priory, said the vandal had done some £2,000 worth of damage in this latest instance in a series of violent acts at the church.
“The constant threat of having our windows damaged is not good for our wellbeing,” the priest said. “It is our church, but it is also connected to our home.”
Police reportedly designated the second incident as both criminal damage and a “hate crime” since the offender used the term “parasitic Christians.” Using CCTV and photographic images taken of the perpetrator, police were able to identify and arrest the man.
The Priory said that in a separate incident in late November, two men entered the church on a Sunday morning and picked up the cross from the high altar, taking pictures of themselves carrying it around the church.
One of them also sat on top of the high altar where the blessed sacrament is reserved, which the Priory described as “an act of sacrilege.”
A further incident of “common assault and breach of the peace” occurred on Christmas Eve when a “disruptive man” entered the church during religious services and eventually “took a swing at the head one of our security guards when he was asked to leave.”
This sort of total disrespect for a church building and those who worship here “makes our ministry more difficult to sustain,” the Priory said.