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Russiah Orthodox church in Oxford is ransacked

18 March 2022


Some of the damage inflicted during the attack on St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Oxford

Some of the damage inflicted during the attack on St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Oxford

THE Rector of a Russian Orthodox church in Oxford which was burgled last weekend has spoken of the “overwhelming” support of the community in the aftermath.

The church, St Nicholas the Wonderworker, was ransacked in the early hours of Saturday, and the church safe and money boxes were forced open. Besides stealing several valuable church items, the burglars stole a cash collection to support refugees from Ukraine.

“A great deal of damage was done, the holy altar was ransacked, and various objects were stolen, including holy relics, crosses, and altar vessels,” Archpriest Stephen Platt wrote on Facebook.

“Fortunately, although the holy table was interfered with, the antimension and the tabernacle containing the Holy Gifts were left undisturbed. The church safe and money boxes were forced open with violence, and the proceeds of a collection to support refugees from Ukraine was stolen.”

He told the BBC that the violence of the attack suggested that it had been more than simply a burglary. Thames Valley Police is investigating.

In an update on Facebook on Monday, he thanked the local community for their support. “We have been completely overwhelmed by the many messages of support and assurances of prayers, not to mention the phenomenally generous donations we have received, following the nasty break-in at our church at the beginning of the weekend,” he wrote.

“Thanks to God, and to our trusty parishioners who came to help clear up, we were able to have services as usual on Saturday evening and Sunday. We are now getting back to normal.”

He continued: “The tremendous spontaneous generosity that Facebook friends have shown (over £8,000 at last count) means that our collection to help refugees from Ukraine has now been greatly augmented.”

In a statement on Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the theft as a “pogrom” by “rioters”, and accused the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, of helping to stir “Russophobic sentiments” in Britain.

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