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Myanmar: Junta torches century-old Catholic church

The junta has not infrequently targeted Christian areas, and even churches, as it ostensibly hunts for anti-regime activity. It is likely indifferent to pleas not to target churches because in Myanmar as in other countries in the region, Christianity is seen as a foreign faith.

Christians make up about 8.2 percent of the population of Myanmar. Most of these Christians are Protestants, with Roman Catholics comprising most of the rest.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Myanmar, see here.

“Myanmar junta torches century-old Catholic church,” UCA News, January 17, 2023 07:47 AM GMT

Myanmar junta forces have continued their attacks on Christian communities by torching a more than century-old Catholic church in a predominantly Christian village.

The 129-year-old Assumption Church in Chan Thar in Ye-U township in the northwestern Sagaing region was set ablaze on Jan. 15, along with many villagers’ homes.

The church was completely destroyed in the inferno. However, there were no human casualties as villagers managed to flee before the army arrived.

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“We are deeply sorrowful as our historic church has been destroyed. It was our last hope,” a Catholic villager, who did not want to be identified due to repercussions by the army, said.

Villagers said a Marian grotto and the adoration chapel were spared. But the parish priest’s house and the nuns’ convent were destroyed.

They said the army arrived in the village in the conflict-torn Sagaing region on the evening of Jan. 14 and set many houses on fire and stayed in the church overnight before setting it ablaze early on Jan. 15, when local Catholics were expected to arrive for worship.

More than 500 houses in the village were also destroyed. in what was the fourth raid on the village in eight months.

“We have no more houses and the church where there was an antique painting of St Mary, which can’t be replaced,” another resident who wished to remain anonymous said.

The junta is targeting the Sagaing region to tackle growing resistance to its rule by people’s defense forces who are suspected to be based there.

Christians make up around 8.2 percent of Myanmar’s 55 million population. The junta has repeatedly raided Chan Thar since May, 2022. Nearly 20 houses were destroyed and two Catholics, including a mentally disturbed person, were killed during a raid on May 7, 2022. More than 100 houses were set ablaze a month later on June 7. In a raid on Dec.14, more than 300 houses were torched….

The Assumption Church was consecrated on Feb. 18, 1894….

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