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Wave of violence against Christians in Poland. Ordo Iuris report for the OSCE

Published: 09.05.2023

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· The Ordo Iuris Institute has once again submitted a report to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe showing the scale of religiously motivated aggression against Christians in Poland.

· In 2022, the Institute recorded 77 such incidents in our country.

· The report describes, among other things, 2 physical attacks on Catholic priests, 4 cases of malicious disruption of Mass, 6 cases of destruction of a statue of the Infant Jesus, 12 cases of destruction of a statue of the Mother of God, and 3 performances and happenings profaning religious symbols and insulting the religious feelings of Christians.


The monitoring program covers crimes that have been reported in local or national media. The list includes cases of crime from all over Poland. Most of the incidents described in the report are cases of vandalism, destruction of places and objects of religious worship - churches, roadside shrines, religious statues, saints' monuments and cemeteries. 

Among the incidents recorded by the Ordo Iuris Center for Religious Freedom in its annual report on manifestations of hatred against Christians in Poland were the disruption of Mass at a church in Zabrze and Lublin, the desecration of a Catholic procession during a pseudo-artist happening and the placement in a Warsaw theater of a sculpture of a female sex organ stylized as a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as well as the destruction of a historic stone cross that survived two world wars. The report's authors also took into account a "nativity play" staged at a school in Gdansk. The performance included a scene in which the figure of Jesus was played by a half-naked student sitting in a wheelbarrow. 

The institute also noted an attack on a parsonage in Dolice. There, a man vandalized the chancel of the church, as well as the fence, garden and door to the rectory. He also threatened the priests with death. A situation from Zabrze was also described, in which the perpetrator threatened a clergyman with a revolver. In Jaslo, on the other hand, a priest was attacked with a knife in the street.  

- The data submitted annually by the Ordo Iuris Institute to the OSCE has remained at a similar level of intensity from year to year. So far, schools have seemed to be a place where teachers maintain standards of religious freedom. This year, however, a case of insulting the Holy Family and ridiculing Christians at a high school in Gdansk was revealed. It came to the point where teenagers acting in a play showed satanic signs to the rhythm of the music, with total approval from the teachers," stressed Magdalena Mickiewicz, coordinator of the Ordo Iuris Center for Religious Freedom.  

For several years, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been conducting research and analysis on the scale of the phenomenon of hatred against various social groups. Ordo Iuris lawyers have been involved in this process since 2015 by monitoring violations of religious freedom and acts of religiously motivated aggression against Christians in Poland. To this end, the Institute established in 2018. Center for Religious Freedom, which collects cases of violations of religious freedom, insults to religious feelings, insults, harassment, vandalism or other destruction of religious sites or symbols. The Center also undertakes legal interventions to protect the rights of religious believers in situations where there are violations of their freedom to profess their religion and externalize their religion through prayer, participation in religious rites, practice or teaching.  The Ordo Iuris Institute also provides legal assistance to victims of religiously motivated hate crimes.

The OSCE report is released every year in mid-November. It collects information on hate crimes. It includes, among others, acts such as threats, property crimes, assaults, murders or any other crime motivated by hatred or prejudice. In addition, it is a prerequisite that the act in question is prohibited by law and constitutes a crime under criminal law according to the national order of the country in question.

- It is important to sensitize society so that all manifestations of aggression motivated by religious hatred are reported. Preserving social peace should also be in the interest of those who do not identify with the Christian faith. A strong response from law enforcement is also necessary," noted attorney Magdalena Mickiewicz.

Cases of crimes motivated by hatred against religious believers can be reported to the Ordo Iuris Center for Religious Freedom. The Ordo Iuris Institute provides professional and free legal support wherever there is a need, due to the need to protect believers whose rights are violated because of their religion. Applications are accepted at [email protected].

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