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Indian Can't Conduct Mass: Man Tells Priest in Melbourne Before Stabbing

A Catholic priest from Kerala named was stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife by an Italian during the Sunday mass at a Catholic church in Melbourne suburbs.

Updated:March 20, 2017, 12:01 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: A Catholic priest from Kerala was stabbed by an Italian during the Sunday mass at a church in the Melbourne suburbs.

Father Tomy Kalathoor Mathew was stabbed in the neck, just as he was about to commence the 11 am Italian-language Mass at St Matthew’s parish.

"The priest, Rev Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, was stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife by the Italian during the mass at a Catholic church in Melbourne suburbs," said Thiruvallom Bhasi, editor of a Melbourne daily visiting Thiruvananthapuram.

"While the ceremony was on, the accused came forward and shouted that since he (Mathew) is an Indian, he couldn't conduct the mass," Mr Bhasi added.

Mr Bhasi said the accused was arrested by Melbourne Police. The priest is now said to be out of danger.

Father Abraham Kavilpura-yidathil, Public Relations Officer of Thamarassery diocese, said Father Tomy, a native of Karimbu near Anakkampoyil, Kozhikode, was serving as vicar of St Mathews Parish in Melbourne for the last four years.

The assailant, who approached the vicar just before the Holy Mass, said that he wanted to speak something in private with him. The vicar refused to oblige and told him that he could speak to him after the Mass.

The assailant then suddenly took out a knife hidden in this cloth and stabbed the priest on the neck. The impact of the attack was reduced due to the thick clothes worn by the priest to protect himself from the cold, apart from the cassock and additional dress for the Holy Mass. “The assailant escaped soon after the incident,” Father Kavilpurayidathil said.

Reacting to the incident, Father Savarimuthu Sankar, Spokesperson, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, said, "Hate crime became a concern and it is high time for the government to initiate dialogues with other countries to prevent such crimes. Every effort should be made by the government abroad to spread the message of appreciation for others. We condemn this incident and pray for his speedy recovery."

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