Sydney church stabbing

Sydney church stabbing

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed repeatedly at a mass at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley just after 7pm on Monday.

A live stream of the mass on the church’s website showed a person approaching the altar who then appeared to stab toward the bishop’s head multiple times.

The 16-year-old perpetrator is in police custody. He made reference to “his religion’ which causes authorities to declare this was a terrorist event

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel is a prominent conservative leader of the Assyrian Orthodox Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley in Western Sydney.

The 53-year-old sustained lacerations to his head after being lunged at during a mass service at the church that was being broadcast online, with the NSW police commissioner saying he underwent surgery and was “lucky to be alive”.

A charismatic and controversial figure, he gained a significant online following during 2020 as an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 lockdowns, referring to the outbreak as a “plandemic”.

Bishop Emmanuel grew up in Baghdad before moving to Australia as a child with his family.

In 2014, the church where the stabbing attack took place broke away from the main Assyrian Church of The East, after the bishop was ex-communicated over theological differences.

His church’s website says he became a priest in 2009 and was ordained as a bishop in 2011.

A man stands at a pulpit and raises his hands as he talks to a crowd.
Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel preaching at Mass – image supplied by Youtube

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a sermon posted to The Good Shepherd Church Youtube channel.(Supplied: YouTube)

His sermons are broadcast on Christ the Good Shepherd Church’s Facebook and YouTube channels, which have a combined following of 240,000.

Second stabbed man identified

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, has identified Father Isaac Royel as the other man stabbed in the attack.

He says the stabbings of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and Father Royel are “shocking and has caused distress to many in the community”.

“Houses of prayer have traditionally been places of peace and solace, refuge and sanctuary and so the video footage of the attack upon a religious leader during a religious service inside a church has been especially confronting,” he said in a statement.

“The images of the violence that subsequently occurred outside the church are also confronting.

“We have seen these types of events in other countries but, up until now, Australia has been largely free from this type of blatant violence in and around places of worship.

“Every person in this country, be they bishop or priest, rabbi or imam, minister or congregant, should be able to worship in safety, without fear that they might be subject to acts of violence while gathering in prayer.

“I urge the faithful to not respond to these events with fear, avoiding places of worship because they are worried about further attacks, nor with anger, engaging in acts of reprisal or revenge. The best response to violence and fear is prayer and peace.

“On behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, and in solidarity with other religious leaders, I offer prayerful support to Bishop Emmanuel, Father Royel and all others affected. May the God of peace reign in our land.”

Paramedics seek refuge
Six paramedics who attended last night’s scene were forced to take refuge in the church after coming under threat from a crowd outside.

Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan says paramedics treated 30 patients at the scene but says the safety of the paramedics was compromised.

He has condemned the actions of those who gathered outside the church in the wake of the incident, saying they negatively impacted their safety and others.


 Assyrian Orthodox Church Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley
The Bishop and another priest were stabbed during a service at the Assyrian Orthodox Church Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley


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