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CELJE, Slovenia (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic church in Slovenia was defaced with satanic words and symbols early Wednesday morning.
The Cathedral of St. Daniel in Celje, a historic church erected in 1306, was spray painted with upside-down crosses, pentagrams, profanities — including the slurs "whore" and "b***h" — the numeral 666 and the name Satan.
The graffiti was found on the front wall of the church building, the bishop's residence, some tombstones and a historic column on which a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands. The vandals also burned and destroyed part of the property from a nearby pub.
According to Matevž Hribernik, a parishioner who spoke with ChurchMilitant.com, the sacristan was the first to see the damage, and alerted Bp. Stanislav Lipovšek, head of the diocese of Celje, before his 7 a.m. Mass.
"The cathedral and Virgin Mary's column are protected as part of our cultural heritage, with national significance, which makes this even more troubling," Hribernik told ChurchMilitant.com. "Some of the gravestones that were spray painted are from the Roman-Early Christian era, and we are still in the process of determining how to clean them."
This marks the second time this year the Catholic church in Slovenia has been attacked, with two churches in Ljubljana — the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation and the cathedral Church of St. Nicholas — spray painted with pro-abortion slurs during the churches' 40 Days for Life Lenten campaign. Messages included "Church, get out of my womb" and "RCC out of our vaginas."
Police are investigating the crime at St. Daniel, and issued a statement Wednesday estimating the damage to be around 3,000 euros ($3,300). The vandals have yet to be apprehended.
Parishioners are in the meantime trying to repair the damage, and are even considering performing an exorcism after the satanic vandalism.
"We've already painted over the graffiti on the church wall," Hribernik explained. "We're now thinking that some sort of exorcism must be done."
In the wake of the incident, Tadej Strehove, spokesman for the Slovenian Bishops Conference, is calling for respect to be shown towards communities of faith.