“We Christians are persecuted all over the world, but we continue to pray and forgive, which is a tenet of Christianity.”
Israeli police arrested a Jewish man after he allegedly threw a firebomb inside the Basilica of All Nations at Gethsemane Church on the Mount of Olives Dec. 4.
Though not immediately identified, the man was wearing a large crocheted skullcap generally associated with Jewish settlers.
Franciscan Father Benito Choque, superior of the Convent of Gethsemane, told Catholic News Service the attack took place at 1:50 p.m. and that some of the benches and part of a Byzantine mosaic were damaged by the fire. Employees of the convent subdued the man, then called police, who took him into custody, Choque said.
“It was only a scare but now it is all over, and we have forgiven,” said Father Choque, who was inside the convent at the time of the attack. “We Christians are persecuted all over the world, but we continue to pray and forgive, which is a tenet of Christianity. We (Franciscans) are custodians of the holy places. This is not the first attack in our history, and we will continue with our presence.”
The Church of Gethsemane is built on the rock and next to the garden where Christians traditionally believe Jesus prayed and passed his agony prior to his arrest and crucifixion.