Tourist Ransacks Venerated Church of Christ’s Crucifixion
JERUSALEM (AP) _ A deranged English-speaking tourist ransacked Calvary today, smashing candles and glass and tearing down a life-size crucifix in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, police and witnesses said.
The church, built over the site where Christ was believed crucified, buried and resurrected, is inside Jerusalem’s ancient walled Old City.
Witnesses said the bearded tourist entered the chapel tradition holds is the site of Christ’s crucifixion and began shouting at worshippers and pilgrims to ″save the children and not pray inside churches.″
He then grabbed a 150-year-old glass lantern and shattered it, knocking memorial candles to the floor, said Bishop Timothy, spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, one of a number of churches that have ecclesiastic rights in the church.
Zaki Zaarour, a church photographer, said the tourist then tore down the life-size silver cross erected on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified.
Ibrahim Zaarour, the photographer’s son, said dozens of tourists and worshippers ran out of the chapel screaming. A tour guide and a bystander apprehended the man and brought him to police just outside the church, he said.
Jerusalem police spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Ruby, said the detained man refused to identify himself.
″Apparently he got some kind of bug in his head and went crazy. Obviously, he’ll be taken in for psychatric observation,″ he said.