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Bishop injured in second Sydney knife attack

15 April 2024


Armed police outside the Orthodox Assyrian church in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, where a bishop was attacked

Armed police outside the Orthodox Assyrian church in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, where a bishop was attacked

TWO stabbings in Sydney, one of women in a shopping centre, the other of a bishop in church, have shocked Australians and prompted prayers around the world.

The first of the two attacks, which did not seem to be related, occurred last Saturday in a shopping mall. Six people were killed, five of them women.

The second took place on Monday in a church in Wakeley, New South Wales (NSW), a suburb of Sydney, where an Assyrian bishop was stabbed during a service. On Tuesday, Australian police declared it a “terrorist attack” with a religious motivation, and confirmed that a 16-year-old boy was in custody.

The attacker in the first stabbing, in the Bondi Junction area of the city, was named as Joel Cauchi. NSW police suggested that he targeted women.

Those killed were Jade Young, Pikria Darchia, Dawn Singleton, Ashlee Good, and Yixuan Cheng, along with a security guard, Faraz Tahir, who reportedly intervened.

Cauchi was challenged and shot dead by a police officer, Inspector Amy Scott.

In a telegram to the RC Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Revd Anthony Fisher, Pope Francis expressed “spiritual closeness to all affected by this senseless tragedy”.

A special service was held at the Anglican St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, on Tuesday evening, and the Archbishop, the Most Revd Kanishka Raffel, published a prayer.

On Monday evening, the Bishop of Christ the Good Shepherd Church, Mar Mari Emmanuel, was stabbed during at service there.

Video footage of the live-streamed service shows a man approaching Bishop Emmanuel and seeming to stab him multiple times, as members of the congregation rushed to the Bishop’s aid.

NSW police said that four people were injured, but that none of the injuries was life-threatening. A man was arrested.

After the attack, hundreds gathered outside the church in protest. The Guardian reported that police cars were smashed, and riot police were deployed. Local politicians appealed for calm.

Mar Mari Emmanuel’s church is a congregation independent of the predominant Assyrian Church in Australia. Originally ordained in the Ancient Church of the East, Mar Mari Emmanuel more recently attracted attention for his sceptical views on Covid lockdowns and vaccines.

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