VicPD seeking tips after Russian church vandalized in Victoria

The front door of St. Sophia Russian Orthodox Church in Victoria was splattered with red paint this week. March 4, 2022.

Police are looking for information after somebody dumped red paint on the front door of a St. Sophia’s Russian Orthodox Church in Victoria.

The bright red paint was discovered sometime between 2 and 4 p.m. Wednesday and police are now hoping to track down a suspect.

“If someone has information about the incident, it is best for them to call (250) 995-7654 extension 1 or Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477,” said a spokesman for VicPD.

Police say it’s too soon to tell whether the vandalism is considered a hate crime.

VicPD also did not comment on whether they believe the incident is linked to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia is publicly supporting Ukrainians impacted by the invasion, gathering funds and supplies for refugees and sending them to the Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

At this bakery in Vancouver’s Harbour Centre they’ve started receiving harassing calls.

The owner, Natalia Mitrofanova, is a Canadian citizen, born in Russia.

“Some people swear. I will not hide. We don’t communicate with them. We can’t explain people just start conversation. Are you still open? Swear, swear, swear, swear.”

Mitrofanova put up a Ukrainian flag to let customers know her stance on the current crisis, and she’s donating a portion of her profits to the war effort.

Victoria’s city council voted unanimously to suspend, relations with its sister city in Russia, councilors in that city protested their own country’s invasion of Crimea back in 2014.

Victoria councilor Marianne Alto said they want to, hopefully, reconnect with civid Kharabarovsk politicians in the future but felt it was important to send a message.

“It’s important for us, in any case, to do what we can to indicate our outrage at the illegal occupation of Ukraine.”

Victoria MLA Grace Lore also raising concern over anti-Russian sentiment.

“We can’t create more division. We can’t elevate xenophobia. We can’t play games of blame or vandalism or violence in our communities. Fundamentally, we have to stand up for each other. We have to stand together. We have to stand for peace.”

Meanwhile businesses seen as supporting Ukraine are busier than ever.

The Flag Shop owner Paul Servos is busy cutting fabric.

“I can tell you it’s like 99.9% is Ukrainian flags going out.”

Despite a wall of flags from around the world, Servos said there’s only one the public wants.

“The people that have come in have been primarily getting Ukrainian flags. There’s been almost no interest or any Russian flags going out the door. So I don’t know that that there is an anti Russian sentiment. We’re not feeling it here. If you go by the number of Ukrainian flags versus the Russian flags the Ukrainians are winning big time.”

Servos hopes with hundreds waving the Ukrainian flags at the rally at the BC Legislature Sunday at 12:30 it’ll help to show people are more interested in peace, than conflict.

WATCH: Thousands gather at BC Legislature in support for Ukraine


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