The Church of the Transfiguration was vandalised two night ago.
serious incident shows a "lack of the sense of the sacred, of the
divine," which is usually present "in this land," not only among
Christians, but also among Jews and Muslims, said Mgr Giacinto-Boulos
Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate said that the desecration
of the basilica on Mount Tabor, "which took place overnight on 23-24
October,” was discovered only in the last few hours. "I just visited the
site and seeing the damage was really a cause of pain and sorrow."
According to the complaint filed with the police, which has opened an
investigation into the matter unknown vandals, perhaps petty criminals,
broke into the Basilica of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. They
stole chalices, damaged icons and took the offerings from a donation box
"The thieves even stole a bronze statue of Our Lady, which was on the
tabernacle,” Mgr Marcuzzo said. “But it is too heavy and they left it
almost immediately. Some volunteers found it laying in the garden and
put it back in its original place."
The thugs struck the chapel on the left, near the main altar, and "set a fire because there are signs and damage from a fire."
"They took the chalices thinking perhaps that they were precious, and
the donation box, which held only a small amount of money although how
much, we don’t know."
For now, the main theory is that it is an isolated case of petty crime, unconnected with past sectarian violence and attacks.
In recent years, Jewish extremists and settlers carried several attacks against a number of Catholic and Greek Orthodox sites, including the church near the Upper Room, and the Basilica of Nazareth.
Mosques and other Muslim places of worship
have also been hit in "price tag" attacks.
Israeli extremists claim
they are extracting a price tag from Christians and Muslims who took
Initially, this trend was limited to areas on the border with the
West Bank and in Jerusalem, but now it has spread to the rest of Israel.
"Although the incident took place at the end of Sukkot celebrations, I
don’t think it is sectarian in nature,” the Vicar of Jerusalem said.
“It is more likely a case of petty crime, for which there are
suspicions but nothing more at present."
Communion bread was also thrown on the ground, but no graffiti was painted as usually occurs in price tag cases.
"We have already conducted a small prayer of reparation, with a new act of consecration," said the prelate.
"An official act of reparation will be held in the coming weeks. This
will confirm our love for the place, our sense of the sacred and
devotion to Our Lady. All those who have a connection with this place
will be invited, of course Muslims too."
The Basilica of the Transfiguration stands on top of Mount Tabor in
Galilee, northern Israel, on the site where, according to tradition, the
Transfiguration of Jesus took place, as narrated in the Gospels of
Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The building overlooks the square, at the end of a road that climbs to the top of the 600-metre hill.
Christians took over the site in 1631 thanks to the work of the
Custos, and has been in the care of the Franciscan friars of the Holy
Land since then.