Evangelical Pastor Forgives Man Who Stabbed Him During Church Service

'I forgive my attackers.' Valdemiro Santiago in hospital after the attack with his wife at his side.Caxiense/YouTube

An evangelical pastor in Brazil has forgiven the worshipper who stabbed him in the neck during a televised service.

Valdemiro Santiago, 53, named by Forbes as one of the richest pastors in Brazil and who is founder of the World Church of the Power of God, suffered wounds in his neck and back after the stabbing in his church in Sao Paulo on Sunday morning.

The knife attack took place when he was laying on hands during the service, according to Veja.

Santiago, who received 25 stitches in hospital, released a video message from his hospital saying he forgives the attacker.

He said: "I was imposing my hands, just hearing a miracle, a testimony, and someone came in behind, I do not know, I did not see who it was, and stabbed the neck, or a razor, I do not know.

"Pray for me. I forgive the person who did this."

Brazil's Bishop Jorge Pinheiro, who was in church at the time, told AFP a man with a 35-centimeter weapon stabbed Santiago as the pastor was ministering to a young man. He said: "We are in shock. We could never have imagined that such a thing could happen in a church – to see the pastor holding his neck with blood flowing from it."

Twenty-year-old Jonathan Gomes Higino was arrested and taken into custody. In his police statement, he said the pastor had provoked him with something he said during a World Cup service last July. 

At the end of last year, a Brazil court criticised Santiago's church for accepting a donation from a cancer sufferer who was advised to cease medical treatment and rely on the power of prayer. The church was ordered to pay compensation.

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