JERUSALEM (LifeSiteNews) — The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has decried a terrorist attack during Sunday morning mass at the Church of Gethsemane in Jerusalem that encompasses the empty tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In a March 19 statement, the Patriarchate, represented by Patriarch Theophilos III, with the Holy Synod and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, condemned “the heinous terrorist attack that took place … at the hands of two Israeli radicals” when they reportedly entered the church and attempted to vandalize icons and attack the presiding Archbishop Joachim and another priest who was present.
They were quickly immobilized by several men in attendance who secured them until police arrived.
The statement continued by emphasizing “terrorist attacks, by radical Israeli groups, targeting churches, cemeteries, and Christian properties, in addition to physical and verbal abuse against Christian clergy, have become almost a daily occurrence that evidently increases in intensity during Christian holidays.”
Last month, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land denounced an attack by a “radical Jew” who entered the Church of the Flagellation and tore down a statue of Jesus Christ and proceeded to deface it before being immobilized.
The FBI is planning to intensify its “assessment” and “mitigation” of “Radical Traditionalist Catholics” over the next 12 to 24 months according to an explosive document from a former agent turned whistleblower.
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The bombshell 8-page memo was released by former FBI agent Kyle Serpahin on his website UncoveredDC Wednesday. The report, written by an FBI analyst in Richmond, Virginia, was published for internal agency use only on January 23, is titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”
Seraphin describes the briefing as an “intelligence product” that, though not being exhaustive, can be used as an initial reference point for the agency to “prop up” future investigations on the subject. He says he obtained the document from an anonymous Baptist employee for the agency.
“This is the first FBI Richmond domain product to focus on the interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in the Radical Traditional Catholic movement,” the document states. “A search of FBI databases indicates this is also the first FBI finished intelligence product to specifically address this environmental variable.”
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Among the most controversial aspects of the memo is that it directly cites a defamatory study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on the subject “Radical Traditional Catholicism.” The SPLC has long been rejected as a legitimate resource for the FBI, Seraphin says, but in this instance, it is being relied on as a primary source to justify its efforts. The memo also references three anti-Catholic smear articles (here, here, and here) published by leftwing websites Salon and The Atlantic to defend its monitoring.
The report alleges that its real motivation is a concern that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” possesses an “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” outlook, and that this presents a threat to the US’s domestic well-being. The report further claims that adherents to RTC ideology “frequently share language and symbolism, such as crusader references or anti-Semitic discourses” online that pro-life white nationalists also support.
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FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agents are surveilling "Radical" Traditional Catholics in Virginia
The Franciscans also strongly condemned the “growing succession of serious acts of hatred and violence against the Christian community in Israel,” which included “a group of religious Jews who entered the New Gate” near their headquarters and attacked tourists while committing acts of vandalism, “throwing chairs, tables and glasses, and transforming the Christian quarter into a battlefield.” According to the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, the police didn’t arrive for an hour, when they finally “took the attackers away.”
Other incidents mentioned include the desecration of a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem in January, “Death to Christians” graffiti being written on the walls of a monastery in the Armenian quarter, and vandalism to a Maronite center.
And just last week, a Catholic school run by the Franciscan Sisters at Nazareth was fired upon by unknown assailants, though fortunately, there were no injuries.
While concern over escalating violence against Christians and their shrines is heightened in the region, such attacks are not a new phenomenon. In fact, Israeli authorities adopted a deliberate policy of destroying, looting, and desecrating churches in Palestine during and after the 1948 war when the nation was founded.
Even today, there have been reports of radical Jewish individuals and groups in Jerusalem spitting on Christians, disrupting their prayer and likely firebombing their property, which Church authorities have routinely condemned.
In 2015, Jewish terrorists made international news when they torched the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha in Galilee, where Jesus Christ performed one of these two miracles recorded in the Gospels.
And similar to the lack of investigation and prosecution when it comes to the crimes of leftist terrorists in the United States — whether they be part of the Black Lives Matter terrorist crimes of 2020, or the pro-abortion terrorist acts since May 2022 — crimes against Christians in Israel and Palestinian territories under Israeli military occupation are virtually never solved.
In December 2021, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders in the Holy Land described such escalating terrorist attacks as “a systematic attempt to drive” Christians “out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land” while also lamenting with “grave concern” how “the declared commitment of the Israeli government to uphold a safe and secure home for Christians in the Holy Land … is betrayed by the failure of local politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies to curb the [violent] activities of radical groups.”
The Orthodox Patriarchate’s Sunday statement echoed this perspective, stating, “[t]his dismal situation hasn’t drawn any appropriate reaction, locally or internationally, despite appeals, requests, and protests made by the Churches of the Holy Land.”
“It is painfully clear now that the authentic Christian presence in the Holy Land is in great danger.”
“The Patriarchate calls upon the international community to intervene immediately to provide security and protection to the Christians of Jerusalem” along with their Holy Sites “which are being subjected to deplorable forms of violations and attacks at the hands of radical Israeli organizations,” they wrote.
“The Patriarchate further demands that the necessary legal measures be taken against all those involved in terrorist crimes against any holy site,” the Orthodox clergymen concluded.
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