Sydney church asks for prayers for 'perpetrator' following attack which left bishop in hospital

16 April 2024, 11:00 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 11:23

Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley has spoken out following the attack
Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley has spoken out following the attack. Picture: Getty/Facebook

By Flaminia Luck

A church in Sydney has asked for prayers for the 'perpetrator' after a 'terrorist act' left a prominent bishop in hospital and others injured.

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Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was delivering a sermon at Christ the Good Shephed Church on Monday when he was attacked by a lone knifeman.

The church said the bishop is receiving treatment at hospital his condition "by God's divine grace and your prayers, is stable and improving".

They added they have been "inundated" with messages of support following the stabbing.

Official press release statement regarding the recent knife attack targeting His Grace (HG) Mar Mari Emmanuel, Diocesan Bishop for Christ the Good Shepherd Church, Wakeley Sydney Australia:

Posted by Christ The Good Shepherd Church on Monday, April 15, 2024

The attack was captured on a YouTube livestream and shared across social media.

The church said as footage of the attack spread, it was "inundated with messages, flooded with onlookers, and visits from thousands of locals who came in support of the Bishop."

But, they also asked "everyone to respect his privacy" and allow the authorities to "complete their duties", in a later statement shared to Facebook.

Flowers left against a fence at Christ The Good Shepherd Church after the attack
Flowers left against a fence at Christ The Good Shepherd Church after the attack. Picture: Getty

The incident - which has been declated a "terrorist act" - triggered unrest in the suburb of Wakeley with angry crowds throwing rocks and smashing the windows of police cars.

The alleged attacker was held "captive" by church goers who were attending mass with riot police having to get through the crowds in order to arrest him.

The church also asked people to vacate the premises of Liverpool Hospital where the "beloved bishop" is recovering after members of the Assyrian community held a vigil.

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There was a large police response following the stabbing at a church
Unrest was triggered after the attack. Picture: Alamy

Police arrested a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday after the stabbing.

New South Wales police said the teenager was known to police but was not on a terror watch list.

Police commissioner Karen Webb said the suspect's comments pointed to a religious motive for the attack.

She said: "We'll allege there's a degree of premeditation on the basis that this person has travelled to that location, which is not near his residential address, he has travelled with a knife and subsequently the bishop and the priest have been stabbed.

"They're lucky to be alive."

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that "there is no place for violence in our community".

Previously authorities had said he was 15.

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Horror footage shows moment bishop is attacked in Sydney

In the full statement, they concluded: "Christ the Good Shepherd Church pleads with all Christian faithful, followers and admirers of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, to keep peace with one other and your neighbour as the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded.

"The Church denounces retaliation of any kind the Church categorises this attack as isolated and awaits police findings into the motive of the attacker;

"Our Church also condones the behaviour of the non-compliant and asks the public to respect civil order whilst keeping the peace which has been sanctioned by Almighty God."

A separate statement also states it is the Bishop's and Father's wishes to "pray for the perpetrator".