Melbourne Anglicans are grateful and relieved that a planned terrorist attack on St Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square and Flinders Street Station on Christmas Day has been neutralised, the Dean of St Paul’s, Dr Andreas Loewe, said today.
Christmas services will continue at the cathedral as planned, with the extra security that had already been arranged.
“We will be alert, but not afraid,” Dr Loewe said. “We thank the police and ASIO for their excellent work.”
He said the cathedral had long worked closely with police on security because St Paul’s Cathedral was the city’s most iconic religious building, attracting more visitors a year than all the state’s National Trust properties put together. “It is a symbol of faith in the city,” he said.
Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, the Anglican Primate of Australia, said he was grateful that the combined work of Victoria Police and several Commonwealth agencies had successfully disrupted the planned attack.
“I thank God that the message of hope, peace and reconciliation which is God’s message in Christ will be proclaimed clearly and publicly at St Paul’s as well as all of our parish churches and authorised Anglican congregations,” Dr Freier said.
“This disrupted terror plan should alert us all to making proper preparations for welcoming the many thousands of people – regular, occasional and no-church goers alike – to our Christmas worship. If you have any concerns about your security arrangements you should talk to your local police.”
Dr Freier said the Church had been told that, with the disruption of this plot, threat levels were “no higher than what we have been living with over the past months”.