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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP called the stabbing of Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and Fr Isaac Royel “shocking and has caused distress to many in the community”. Source: Crux.

A 16-year-old boy stabbed and injured the two men at Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney on Monday night. The attacker was arrested on Tuesday, and his victims are expected to survive.

“It does appear to be religiously motivated, but we continue our lines of investigation,” said Mike Burgess, the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

In a statement, Archbishop Fisher said houses of prayer have traditionally been places of refuge and sanctuary, “and so the video footage of the attack upon a religious leader during a religious service inside a church has been especially confronting”.

“The images of the violence that subsequently occurred outside the church are also confronting,” the archbishop said.

“We have seen these types of events in other countries but, up until now, Australia has been largely free from this type of blatant violence in and around places of worship,” he continued.

Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay said the Maronites “unequivocally denounce violence in all its forms and expresses deep concern over the incidents” that took place Monday night.

“We call on everyone to remain calm, refrain from resorting to violence or retaliatory behaviours, and engaging in gossip and speculation,” he said in a statement.

“As a community we must work together to de-escalate tensions and I ask everyone to heed the calls of our governments and NSW Police, exercise prudence and follow police direction,” the bishop added.

In response to the attack, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “there is no place for violence in our community. There’s no place for violent extremism.”

Archbishop Fisher said every person in Australia should be able to worship in safety, without fear that they might be subject to acts of violence while gathering in prayer.

“I urge the faithful to not respond to these events with fear, avoiding places of worship because they are worried about further attacks, nor with anger, engaging in acts of reprisal or revenge. The best response to violence and fear is prayer and peace.”


Australian archbishop condemns attack on Orthodox Assyrian clergy (By Charles Collins, Crux)


Do not fear to worship after Mar Emmanuel attack, but respond with prayer, says Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP (The Catholic Weekly)

Mar Emmanuel will ‘show face of Jesus’ in wake of murder attempt, Fairfield priest says (The Catholic Weekly)