January 7, 2015
Members of a north Phoenix Serbian parish coming in for Orthodox Christmas services on Wednesday morning were horrified to see their church had been vandalized with fascist symbols, according to a church spokesman.
Block fence posts at St. Nikolas Serbian Orthodox Church near Cave Creek and Cactus roads had been spray-painted with symbols of the fascist Croatian party Ustashi, according to Alex Stojsic, a spokesman for the church.
The symbols are reminiscent of the ethnic cleansing against Serbians and Jews during World War II and are considered an act timed to terrorize the Serbian population in the Valley, Stojsic said.
The Orthodox church follows the Julian calendar, which celebrates Christmas later compared with the Gregorian calendar much of the world follows.
Many members of the church fled Croatia during the Bosnian Wars between 1992 and 1995, Stojsic said.
Phoenix police were notified and are investigating the vandalism, he said.