Staff members of Santa Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon were alarmed when they found the smouldering remains of a homemade pipe bomb in their church garden on the morning of February 4th. Thankfully it had failed to explode. Local authorities checked security camera footage and spoke with neighbours but have not identified any suspect.
This incident comes on the 12th anniversary of the murder of Father Andrea Santoro, the priest of Santa Maria. Recently there have been increased threats and attacks against Christians of various denominations in Turkey. On December 7th, 2017, death threats were made against the pastor and a church worker of the Balikesir Protestant Church.
Other intimidation tactics used against believers include broken windows and signs, Islamic slogans painted on walls, and a burned New Testament left in front of a church. There have also been a number of recent news reports expressing very critical views towards Christians, with the seeming intent to influence public opinion against the church. For more information about persecution in Turkey, and to review previous reports, click here.
Turkish Christians are requesting prayer for their safety in the face of increasing hostilities. While we can praise God that the recent church bombing attempt had failed and no one was injured, please join us in praying that He will thwart any future attacks. May there also be a notable change in the growing bias against these faithful believers -- with a heightened awareness of their favorable attributes, positive influence, and helpful contributions among communities throughout the country.