Who stabbed Bishop Mari? What we know about the Sydney church attack

Forensic Police are seen at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley on April 16, 2024 in Sydney, Australia (Getty Images)
Forensic Police are seen at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley on April 16, 2024 in Sydney, Australia (Getty Images)

Australian police have made an arrest after a stabbing took place at a Sydney church on Monday, April 15.

A bishop, a priest and several churchgoers were attacked during mass at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, resulting in at least four people suffering "non-life-threatening" injuries, according to local police. The attacker was also reportedly injured in the incident.

The incident was captured on a church livestream, spreading panic and fear both online and in the local community.

One day on, here’s everything we know about the violent incident.

Who stabbed Bishop Mari?

Australian police in Sydney have described Monday's stabbing as a religiously motivated "terrorist act".

In Australia, the police define terror offences as being ideologically motivated. Although investigations are still underway, the authorities state that they this is likely a case of religious extremism.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed to media that a 16-year-old boy was arrested in the wake of the attack.

Allegedly, the teenager made comments to the bishop before initiating the attack, reportedly “centred around religion”.

It’s believed that attacking during a livestreamed service was intentional, but the suspect is believed to have been acting alone.

Although he was known to police with previous knife crime changes and being found with a blade in school in 2020, as confirmed by state premier Chris Minns via a local radio interview, he was not on any terror watch list.

The alleged perpetrator has since been in surgery, following an injury to his fingers. It’s unclear if he injured himself or in an altercation with those in the church.

Where did the attack happen?

The attack took place on Monday, April 15 at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, located in the Wakeley area of Sydney, Australia.

Who was injured in the Sydney church attack?

Four people were harmed in the attack, but their injuries are not life-threatening. Not all the victims’ identities have been revealed, however, the church has named the priest as Father Isaac Royel and the bishop as Mar Mari Emmanuel.

Ordained in 2011, Bishop Emmanuel is known on social media as a popular and controversial figure, with his sermons often receiving millions of views online.

When the livestream resulted in graphic videos and images of the attack spreading online, fans of Bishop Mari were shocked by the news.

This resulted in an angry crowd congregating at the Assyrian Orthodox Church, where hundreds of people clashed with police, seeking justice and revenge for the attack. At the time, the alleged attacker was still inside the church being treated by paramedics.

Two officers were injured in the incident, one with a broken jaw from being hit with a brick, and ten police cars were also destroyed. Paramedics also reportedly feared for their safety, remaining trapped inside the church.