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18 April 2024

Sydney bishop says he ‘forgives’ alleged attacker after church stabbing

18 April 2024

A bishop who was stabbed while delivering a sermon at a church in western Sydney says he has “forgiven” his alleged attacker.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and the Reverend Isaac Royel were allegedly stabbed by a 16-year-old boy during an Assyrian Orthodox service, which was being streamed online, at Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakely on Monday night.

The teenager sustained severe hand injuries when parishioners at the church overpowered him.

He is likely to remain in an undisclosed hospital under police guard for several days and is yet to be charged.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, who has been recovering in hospital, released an audio statement on Thursday saying that he was “doing fine, recovering very quickly” and that he forgave his attacker.

He used his statement to call for calm after the incident, which was Australia’s second high-profile knife attack in a week, after a man stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping centre on Saturday before he was shot dead.

He said: “The Lord Jesus never said go out and fight in the street, never said to retaliate, but to pray. And this is what I’m asking everyone to do.

“I forgive whoever has done this act. And I say to him, you are my son, I love you and I will always pray for you.

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

Rev Royel, the injured priest, left hospital on Wednesday and was interviewed by detectives at his home on Thursday, media reported.

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