Vandals, likely religious right-wing extremists, vandalized Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey overnight Saturday. The Benedictine monastery abutting the walls of Jerusalem's Old City has been the target of repeated anti-Christian vandalism and in February 2015.
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The vandals wrote anti-Christian slogans on the edifice's walls and doors using red and black markers. These included: "Christians to Hell", "May his name be obliterated" (a supposed Hebrew acronym of Jesus' name in Hebrew), "Death to the heathen Christians the enemies of Israel", etc.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the vandalism during the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday saying "This is an action deserving of every condemnation, there is no place for actions like these. Israel is a place where Christians and all other religions enjoy freedom of worship, and the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing. The police are working on finding those responsible."
During Pope Francis's visit in 2014, the pope celebrated mass in the Dormition Abbey. Shortly after the Pope left, a visitor book was set ablaze by an anonymous arsonist.
Pope Paul VI also visited the abbey during his celebrated Holy Land pilgrimage in 1964.
This church is one of Jerusalem's landmarks. It is belived to be the site where the Virgin Mary died, or fell into 'eternal sleep'. Its Latin name is "Dormition Sanctae Mariae" (Sleep of St. Mary). The current church and m onastery, owned by the German Benedictine Order, was consecrated in 1906.
Over the past decade, Christian sites in Israel have been increasingly vandalized in so-called 'price tag' attacks. In 2015, the Church of Loaves and Fish in northern Israel was set ablaze.