Graffiti spray-painted at a 129-year-old Pasadena church that was set on fire last week resembled messages left on several other churches that were vandalized in recent months.
Vandals broke into Church of the Angels — an Episcopal church on Avenue 64 that was built in 1889 — before sunrise Jan. 13 and lit a fire in the sanctuary. Using green spray paint, they wrote “Jehovah” on a stone statue of an angel outside the building, as well as the words “Jehovah Lives” and a reference to an Old Testament Bible verse on the sidewalk, said the Rev. Robert Gaestel, the church’s rector.
The Bible verse, 2 Kings 19:35, reads: “And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.”
The same verse was spray-painted at Ancient Church of the East Mar Shaleeta Parish, an Assyrian church in San Fernando, in a November 2016 incident that the Assyrian American Assn. of Southern California called a hate crime.
Police in February 2017 found similar graffiti at three West Covina churches: Christ Lutheran Church, St. Christopher Catholic Church and West Covina Christian Church.
Gaestel told parishioners in an email this week that what happened at Church of the Angels seemed to follow a pattern of incidents at other houses of worship.
“It sounds like we were not singled out for any reason but are part of a series of things,” Gaestel said in an interview.
Authorities are still searching for those responsible for the fire and vandalism at Church of the Angels, which was reported about 2:20 a.m. Jan. 13, said Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Fire Department. It appears there was more than one person involved, she said.
Authorities are not treating the incident as a hate crime, Derderian said.
Full story at The LA Times.