RIGA, April 10, 2006 Ė The Latvian State Police has
started a criminal investigation following a homophobic incident at the
Anglican Church of Riga yesterday (April 9).
Two drunken Ďskinheadsí entered the Anglican Church
during the Open Evangelical Congregationís service and disrupted the
Following the requests by the congregation not to disturb
the service and leave the church, the two skinheads are said to have
attacked one of the congregationís members.
Maris Sants said that the injuries were not serious.
The parish board said today that this is not the first
incident of disturbance during their service and they believe the radical
organisations are responsible for this and previous incidents.
Every Sunday evening, members of the Open Evangelical
Congregation hold a service in the Anglican Church.
It is led by Maris Sants, a former priest of the Latvian
Evangelical Lutheran Church (LELC) who as excommunicated by the LELC after
he publicly admitted he was gay.
Following his excommunication from the LELC he organised
an Open Evangelical Congregation which is open to all Christians regardless
of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Congregationís
services are being held at the Anglican Church of Riga.
Last July the Church hosted a service during the first
LGBT Pride March in the Latvian capital, when Riga police fought with
thousands of anti-gay protesters in a bid to protect the 200 people taking
part in the Pride parade.
Following this service and support to LGBT people,
another priest, Juris Calitis, was excommunicated by the LELC but still
holds his position within the Anglican Church.