Vandals decapitate Virgin Mary statue outside Toronto church
Today in particularly creepy acts of vandalism, someone has beheaded a statue of the Virgin Mary outside a Catholic church in Toronto's west end — and nobody can find the head.
Parishioners at Our Lady of Lebanon church in Parkdale were horrified upon arriving for mass on Sunday to find Holy Mary, Mother of God, praying for us sinners without a noggin.
"Sunday August 30th, 2020, before we started our Masses at Our Lady of Lebanon church Toronto, we were shocked to discover a horrible act of vandalism: We found that the statue of the Virgin Mary, erected in front of the church, was completely decapitated!" reads a statement posted to Facebook by the church Sunday afternoon.
"Most probably this was done during the night or at dawn," it continues. "We couldn't find the head anywhere near the statue."
Sunday August 30th, 2020, before we started our Masses at Our Lady of Lebanon church Toronto, we were shocked to discover a horrible act of vandalism: We found that the statue of the Virgin Mary, erected in front of the church, was completely decapitated!https://t.co/xuJxh17F7b pic.twitter.com/VemWvkiV5Y— OLOL Toronto (@ololtoronto) August 30, 2020
It is unclear why the Blessed Virgin — one of Catholicism's most revered and important saints — was targeted by vandals, though it is of note that North America has experienced a rash of statue defacements, dismemberments and beheadings in recent months.
Calling the act "deplorable and malicious," Our Lady of Lebanon thanked its parishoners and neighbours on Sunday for all of their support, noting that police had been contacted to find the roughly 25-year-old statue's head.
The church's priest, Father Walid El Khoury, also told CTV on Monday that security footage showed someone on the church's lawn around 3 a.m. on Sunday.
Police continue to investigate the crime, which they described as "pathetic," but no suspect information has been announced to date.
Toronto Police continue to investigate the decapitation of a statue of the Virgin Mary outside Our Lady of Lebanon, on Queen St. W. near Roncesvalles. Parishioners arrived to mass yesterday and saw the damage. @680NEWS pic.twitter.com/nawkyjcfez— Mark Douglas (@Douglas680NEWS) August 31, 2020
Toronto Mayor John Tory is one of several politicians condemning the act of vandalism and asking anyone with pertinent details to come forward.
"Horrified to see someone decapitated the Virgin Mary statue in front of #OurLadyofLebanon" wrote the mayor on Twitter Monday morning. "I am reaching out to (Our Lady of Lebanon) to let them know our city supports them and deplores any violence or vandalism against places of worship."
"Such barbarism and intolerance is beyond the pale," said Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Aris Babikian similarly.
"There is no justification whatsoever for such a crime. I am dismayed and revolted by this insane act. Every Canadian who believes in our values should condemn this act."
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