The priest at All Saints Russian Orthodox Church in Calgary is pleading for peace following an act of vandalism over the weekend.
On February 26, the church’s temple door was spray painted with splashes of red.
Father Dmitry Grygoryev said he’s urging his parishioners to try and ignore the thoughts and actions aimed at inciting hate between people.
“(We are) not supposed to keep the hate and anger to other people in our hearts. This is most important: don’t judge anyone and don’t spread hate,” Grygoryev said.
He said he is praying for the person responsible.
“We are not judging him for his painful reaction to war.”
“Pain can be expressed in such a monstrous way,” Grygoryev said.
“We urge you not to succumb to the machinations of evil forces and also always keep in mind that the desecration of shrines greatly destroys the soul, hinders salvation and has tragic consequences for the life of the individual and his family.”
He said the person was caught on their security camera and hopes the person comes forward.
“I hope it’s not going to happen again. Fighting never ends well,” Grygoryev said. “If you want to help Ukraine, come pray with us.”
“I am from Ukraine, I have relatives there. This parish was founded by immigrants and people who escaped the revolution. I don’t see much sense in targeting us.”
Calgary police told Grygoryev they are investigating the incident and the hate crimes team part of the investigation.
They described the person as a man that is approximately 5’10” tall with a medium toque. He was wearing a black toque, black face mask, brown anorak-style coat, dark blue jeans, glasses and black runners with white soles at the time of the incident.
Anyone with information about the incident and the identity of the man is asked to contact police by calling 403-266-1234 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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