The Church of the Transfiguration in the Holy Land, one of Christendom’s most beloved sites, was desecrated by thieves on Monday who stole chalices, robbed the poor box, and left consecrated Hosts scattered on the floor.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting on the incident which occurred October 24 when unknown burglars raided the church, destroyed the tabernacle, damaged icons and stole a ciborium after tossing the consecrated Hosts to the floor.
Although extremists have targeted Christian churches in the Holy Land before, police say the incident “appeared to be a criminal matter,” and not nationalistically or religiously motivated.
But that assessment is little comfort to those who hold the site dear.
“The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, together with all Churches and the Custody of the Holy Land, condemn this desecration as a heinous crime and an act that violates the sanctity of the Holy Sites,” the patriarchate said Oct. 25.
“We also ask the police to conduct an investigation, to seriously look into the matter and apprehend the perpetrators who are culpable of these disgraceful actions.”
The Church of the Transfiguration is located on Mount Tabor, near the Sea of Galilee, and is believed to be the place where Jesus was transfigured and spoke with Moses and Elijah. A Greek-Orthodox Church and a Franciscan Monastery currently occupy the site. The churches are built on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church (4th- 6th century) and a 12th century church built during the Crusades.
There are no suspects for Monday’s crime and police are continuing their investigation.
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