Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant during a sermon in Sydney, Australia on Monday, sparking outrage among the local Christian community.

Live-stream footage of the service at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, a Sydney suburb, captured the moment an unidentified man dressed in a black hoodie approached the altar. Before Bishop Emmanuel could react, the man lunged forward with a knife, stabbing him repeatedly in the face and neck. Congregants rushed forward to restrain the attacker as the bishop fell to the ground, resulting in additional injuries to three other men.

All four victims were transported to Liverpool Hospital for treatment. Bishop Emmanuel is reportedly in critical but stable condition, and the attacker has been taken into police custody. A motive for the attack has not yet been determined, but authorities have suggested that the bishop’s online activism may have been a contributing factor.

Emmanuel, known as “the TikTok Bishop,” gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic for denouncing lockdowns as “mass slavery,” and warning that vaccines against the virus were ineffective. He has also spoken out against LGBTQ+ identity and criticized Islam.

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Following the arrest of the attacker, hundreds of city residents, many reportedly tied to the local Orthodox Christian community, gathered outside the church, believing the knifeman to still be inside. The police response at the scene intensified as the crowd became increasingly unruly, forcing a riot squad to disperse the demonstrators.

The attack on Bishop Emmanuel and the congregants of Christ The Good Shepherd Church comes just two days after a mass stabbing incident at Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction mall, which left six dead and seven injured, including a six-month-old baby. The attacker was also killed when police responded to the scene.

It is unclear if the two knife attacks are related, but Australian authorities have suggested that the mall stabbings were not linked to terrorism.

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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