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Bishop stabbed in Sydney church while giving Bible study



John Burger - published on 04/15/24

Mar Mari Emmanuel is a high-profile preacher on social media who leads a Middle Eastern flock in Australia.

A prominent bishop, a priest, and several other people were injured in a stabbing attack at a church in Sydney, Australia, on Monday.

It was the second stabbing recently in Australia’s most populous city, but the two incidents do not appear to be related.

Pope Francis offered his condolences and prayers following the attack on Saturday, which resulted in six fatalities.

Then on Monday, a young man wielding a knife attacked Mar Mari Emmanuel, an Assyrian bishop, during an evening Bible study at the Christ the Good Shepherd church. “Mar” is a title meaning “bishop” in some Eastern traditions. The attacker, whom some media identified as a 15-year-old, lunged with his knife at Bishop Emmanuel’s head and upper body.

Members of the congregation rushed to defend the bishop, and some of them, including, apparently, another priest at the church, were stabbed during the scuffle.

“A male was arrested on scene and he has been removed from the church and taken to an undisclosed location,” the New South Wales Police Force stated. “The injured individuals suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being conveyed to hospital.”

Some media reported that Bishop Emmanuel was serving the Divine Liturgy, but he leads a weekly Bible study in the Assyrian language on Monday evenings. The church is in the midst of Lent and does not have Divine Liturgy every day. 

According to The Telegraph, “angry crowds congregated outside the church, demanding vengeance for the attack. Hundreds of people tried to push past a phalanx of riot police to reach the suspect.”

The crowd could be heard on video from the scene calling for the police to hand the suspect over. 

Two officers were injured during the protest.

“A constable was hit with a metal object and sustained a twisted knee and a chipped tooth. Another constable sustained a broken jaw after he was hit with a brick and a fence paling,” NSW Police said.

They were both taken to hospital for treatment.

Monday’s attack came just two days after a man stabbed six people to death in Sydney before being shot dead by police.

Assyrian community

The church where Emmanuel was preaching is in a suburb called Wakeley, site of a small Assyrian community, many of whose members fled persecution and war in Iraq and Syria. 

The Assyrian Church of the East has its roots in the Middle East and is not in full communion with the Catholic, Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Bishop Emmanuel has a large following on TikTok, YouTube, and other social media and is known for his direct style when speaking of current events, such as transgenderism, homosexuality, and the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the church’s website, he was ordained a priest in 2009 and a bishop in 2011.

AustraliaBishopsEastern Christian
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