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Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel Releases Statement After Stabbing

'I need you to act Christ-like,' said the bishop in an audio update to his followers

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel Releases Statement After Stabbing

The orthodox bishop who was attacked during a service has released his first public statement.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of Christ the Good Shepherd in Wakeley, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, and three other men were injured after a knife-wielding teenager attacked the religious leader on April 15. The service was being livestreamed so the attack was captured and recorded.

One video of the incident showed the assailant being pinned to the ground by members of the church as a voice, speaking in Arabic, says, "If they didn’t insult my prophet, I wouldn’t have come here. If he didn’t involve himself in my religion, I would not have come here,” per Reuters

The attacker was arrested by New South Wales Police and identified as a 15-year-old boy. 

In a statement posted on the church’s official Facebook page on April 18, Father Daniel Kochou said the bishop is still in the hospital where he is stable and “receiving great care.” 

“The necessary rule of law shall prevail,” said Kouchou. “The unfortunate events that took place outside the church caused unnecessary delays and threats to both victims, paramedics and police.”

He was referencing the estimated 2,000 people that gathered outside the church as word of the attack on the bishop spread. The crowd reportedly demanded that the attacker, who was restrained in the church after assaulting the bishop, be brought out. Some of the gathered crowd clashed with police and tensions mounted. At least one person has been arrested as a result. 

“There was a large contingent of people who were not members of the church who attended and caused a major disturbance,” said Kochou. He added that the bishop preaches “love and peace” and now wishes people would turn to “private prayer” and “not escalate the matter any further.”

The church is cooperating with police during their investigation into the attack and has asked that anyone with additional information come forward. Kochou also said social media posts claiming the Church is organizing a prayer vigil are “false.”

An audio-only recording update from Bishop Mari Emmanuel was included in the post.

“We need to understand that we need to be always thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” he said. “For whatever trials and tribulations we go through, we are carrying the cross. Let us not forget that at all.”

The bishop said he was “doing fine” and there was “no need to be worried or concerned.”

“I need you to act Christ-like,” Mari Emmanuel told his followers. “The Lord Jesus never taught us to fight. The Lord Jesus never taught us to retaliate. … The Lord Jesus said, ‘Never return evil with evil but return evil with good.’”

He told his supporters to be law-abiding citizens, to cooperate with police, and to pray for the country.

“We should never forget we are very blessed to be Aussies,” said the bishop. “But above all, we are Christians and we need to act like it.”

Mari Emmanuel said he forgives his attacker and that he will pray for him.

“And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well,” he added.

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