Vandal had splattered it with red paint
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A statue of Jesus Christ that a vandal had covered with red paint last month is back in the garden outside Saint Anselm Catholic Church in Bay Ridge and parishioners are saying prayers of gratitude.
“We were very lucky that the paint came off,” Dan Texeira, president of the St. Anselm Parish Pastoral Planning Council, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Wednesday. “We thought the paint had soaked through and ruined the statue. We thought we would have to commission a new statue. But we hired a company that specializes in statue restoration and they were able to clean the paint off,” he said.
The statue was returned to its perch over looking the corner of 82nd Street and Fourth Avenue a few days ago.
If the parish had to commission a new statue, it would have costs thousands of dollars, Texeira said.
The depiction Jesus at the crucifixion was one of two statues outside the church at 356 82nd St. that were vandalized in a crime spree of Bay Ridge religious institutions that took place during the early morning hours of July 30.
Police said the suspect also poured red paint on a statue of the Virgin Mary. The company hired by the parish was also able to remove the paint from that statue, Texeira said.
Cops at the 68th Precinct arrested a suspect, Christopher Papadimtropoulos, 55, the day after the incident.
As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, the suspect allegedly hit four churches and a private school during the vandalism spree. In addition to the damage discovered at St. Anselm Church, the word “No” was found spray painted at the front entrance of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, at 405 81st St., and on the front wall at a Lutheran church on Ridge Boulevard. The word “on” was spray painted near the entrance of Bay Ridge Prep, a private school at 7420 Fourth Ave.
At the fifth site, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, at 8401 Ridge Boulevard, red paint was discovered on six of the church’s doors, on a flagpole on the front lawn, and on the cornerstone of the church.
As in the case of St. Anselm, the targeted religious institutions and the school cleaned up the vandalism.
US Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) who represents the neighborhood, said he’s not surprised the churches and the school quickly got over the shock of the vandalism, cleaned up, and moved on. “There’s no question that Bay Ridgeites are known for their strength and resiliency. After an attack on our faith, the community comes together. And we move on from it very quickly,” he said.
The cleanup effort “sends a message that attacks like this won’t hurt us in the long run,” Grimm said.
The statues outside St. Anselm Church aren’t just meaningful to the parishioners, but are treasured by the community as a whole, Texeira said. “We often see people walking by on their way to work, stop for a minute, say a prayer by the statue, and move along. People missed the statues when they were gone,” he said.
Grimm, who held a press conference outside St. Anselm Church with state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) the morning after the incident to condemn the vandalism, said he was shocked to see the statue of Jesus Christ covered with red paint. “It hit me more on a personal level than I thought it would. It almost brought a tear to my eye,” said the congressman, who is Catholic.