'It Can't Be Replaced': Historic Church Burns to the Ground in Suspected Arson


A historic church in Raleigh County, West Virginia, was burned down in what authorities said appears to have been an arson attack on Sunday.

St. Colman Catholic Church was a small building also known as “the Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain,” according to The Register-Herald in Beckley, West Virginia.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the original structure dates back to 1877-1888, the Catholic News Register reported.

But this historic place of worship was burned to the ground.

“On 6/26/2022 units from Beaver VFD were alerted to a structure fire at the Saint Colman Catholic Church on Irish Mountain Road in Shady Spring, WV,” the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

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The department said that by the time firefighters arrived, the church had already burned all the way down and was “smoldering.”

It said the fire was considered “suspicious in nature” and was being investigated as arson.

Art Sanda, who was part of the group that maintained the church and the cemetery and grounds, said he was not surprised since the church had been vandalized before.

“My immediate reaction was, ‘They finally did it,'” Sanda told the Register-Herald. “We’ve had a series of vandalisms up at Saint Coleman, and I think we knew in the back of our minds that one of these days, they’re just gonna burn it to the ground, and they did.”

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Wesley Bennett, who helped maintain the church and cemetery over the years, told the outlet the arsonist’s actions were unfathomable.

“I’m sure you and myself and most people have trouble understanding what kind of mindset it takes to damage a place like that, that has so much history involved, that means so much to so many people,” Bennett said.

“They’ve not only robbed the Catholics in our area of a historical treasure, they’ve robbed our entire area of a treasure. And it can’t be replaced,” he said.

There was no evidence to connect the arson to pro-abortion protests in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, but churches around the country were alerted about such attacks last week.

The Department of Homeland Security warned the Catholic Church about “extreme violence” targeting churches and pregnancy centers in advance of the court’s ruling on abortion, Newsweek reported Thursday.

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One Catholic church in Northern Virginia was vandalized on Sunday morning. The graffiti was related to Roe v. Wade, WAVY-TV reported.

Pregnancy centers also have been targeted and vandalized, the Catholic News Agency reported.

All over the U.S., churches, clinics and police departments ramped up security measures on Friday to be ready for violence by pro-abortion activists, Fox News reported.

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