Nicaragua Catholic cathedral attacked with firebomb
An unidentified man threw a firebomb into a chapel of Managua’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, severely damaging the chapel and a devotional image of Christ more than three centuries old.
The man wore a hood and held something in his hands that witnesses could not identify. He entered the Chapel of the Blood of Christ and said “I come to the blood of Christ,” the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa reports. The witnesses saw the man throw the object in his hands.
A church worker and a parishioner were in the chapel. They noticed the fire and reported it to authorities. While the man was not identified, witness Alba Ramirez said the man was known to some in the area. According to Radio Corporacion, men in civilian clothes with a threatening attitude were in the vicinity of the cathedral.
The chapel houses a 382-year-old image of the Blood of Christ, a depiction of Jesus Christ crucified. Cardinal Brenes said due to the fire’s heat “half of the face came off, but the image was charred. We are going to evaluate this calmly because it is a beautiful image for more than 300 years old.”
The attack comes after tensions between some Catholics and supporters of President Daniel Ortega, who previously led the country for over a decade after the Sandinistas’ 1979 ouster of the Somoza dictatorship. Ortega has again been president of Nicaragua since 2007 and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014. Ortega’s government has accused many bishops and priests of siding with his opposition.