The violence and hate faced by Christians took an ugly turn for one church as vandals ransacked the house of worship, destroying sacred objects and looting goods.
Unfortunately for the church, this was the second vicious act in less than a month.
The most recent vandalism happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Caltanissetta, Italy, according to the Italian-language La Sicilia.
Relics were demolished at the church of Sant’Agata al Collegio with no apparent reason other than for the sake of destruction. Photos from the scene show broken artifacts and icons, with other church objects strewn about.
A sleeping Madonna figure had its glass door shattered and its arm broken off and was robbed of a gold brooch by the vandals. Pictures show the religious icon spilling out of its case.
“Unscrupulous people … have meddled in the Church and parish premises ravaging everything they could, desecrating the Lord’s House. The Nazarene Jesus Association is tightening around Father Sergio and the Friars who have been serving the Community and the whole city for years,” the local Nazarene Jesus Association said in Italian on a Facebook post.
“We ask the city to make its voice and condemnation heard loudly for these cowardly acts.”
Accompanying the post, the religious organization provided photographs of the desecration.
Luckily, it seems these vandals didn’t make a clean getaway.
According to La Sicilia, 20-year-old Salvatore Giannone and 25-year-old Alessio Pio Raul Naselli were intercepted hurrying away from the direction of the church.
Italian police gave chase after the men entered a car and fled.
An envelope abandoned by the alleged vandals was recovered. Inside, police say, they found seemingly damning evidence of the criminal acts against the church. Alongside over 150 euros was a container of holy oil and the brooch from the sleeping Madonna.
Police were seeking two others in connection with the crime.
After combing through the facts, police said the vandals entered through a school library attached to the church. They stole money from vending machines in the facility before heading into the sanctuary.
The owners of the recovered vending machine money donated it to the church to help it recover from the destruction.
Giannone and Naselli are now awaiting trial and possible time in an Italian prison. If convicted, they’ll surely regret their decision to tear apart a small-town church.
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