Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

The Junípero Serra statue at the Old Santa Barbara Mission was decapitated and splashed with bright red paint between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

An edhat reader captured these photos while walking along the Mission early Monday morning. It appears the photos were taken before staff at the Santa Barbara Mission had arrived or were aware of the vandalism. The statue has since been fully covered.

Junípero Serra was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco. Santa Barbara’s Mission was founded on December 4th, 1786, two years after Serra died. He planned to build this mission, raising the cross at the Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782. Successors of Serra carried on his wishes in building Mission Santa Barbara.

Serra was beatified in 1988 and canonized in 2015, because of his religious devotion and missionary efforts. He was largely credited with bringing Catholicism to California while it was under Spanish rule.

However, Serra is viewed as controversial by many historians in the mission’s oppressive treatment of native people. “By law, all baptized Indians subjected themselves completely to the authority of the Franciscans; they could be whipped, shackled or imprisoned for disobedience, and hunted down if they fled the mission grounds. Indian recruits, who were often forced to convert nearly at gunpoint, could be expected to survive mission life for only about ten years,” according to PBS

Two years ago, just days after Serra was raised to sainthood, vandals toppled statues and painted “Saint of Genocide” on a headstone at the Carmel Mission where remains of the missionary are buried.

Last November, red paint was splashed across the front door of Mission Santa Cruz. 

And just last month, another statue of Serra was vandalized in Mission Hills across from the San Fernando Mission. The statue’s hands were painted red with murder written on the monument, reports the LA Times.

Santa Barbara Police officers were later on the scene. It’s being reported there may be video footage of the incident, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Edhat will update this article with any further developments.

Junipero Serra statue at the Santa Barbara Mission before being vandalized (Facebook)

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. GABBYELLE: Why does the SYV band of Chumash treat the Coastal band so poorly? Many members of the Coastal band are in dire straits and the SYV band could care less…it is almost as if the casino has turned brother against brother. The casino Chumash learned well from the Padres at The Old Mission. I hope one day the wealthy Chumash will help their not so well off brethren.

  2. I hate to tell you but what you describe is exactly what Muslims want to do with Europe now.
    You most likely don’t know (because the “good press” keeps this under the rug) that :
    You can’t display Xmas mangers in public places any more
    That pork meat is forbidden in school cafeterias.
    That public pools are closed to men at certain times so that Muslim women can use them with “men presence”
    Looking “good” doesn’t it ?

  3. I love driving on APS it’s my favorite street I think I’ll pitch a tent up there someday and join the other campers Serras head is probably up there somewhere…I don’t agree with sex abuse, torture, and murder and that seems to be legal within the Catholic church makes Al Capone look like Romper Room. jus sayin

  4. Maybe he didn’t torture or enslave people maybe he was a good old boy…But currently and in the recent past there have been many instances of Sexual Abuse by priests in thy blessed Catholic church many right here in Santa Barbara and if that wasn’t true though it is why did the Catholic Church pay all those settlements? And why to this day does the Catholic church protect Catholic Priests who are sex abusers most of children? Are not children important? Or are Catholic children meant to be abused by Catholic priests some weird twisting of Gods Will?

  5. Roger, The church hides all the sexual abuse because they don’t want to dirty their reputation of being a saintly bunch, God’s representatives here on earth. Hiding what was done by a priest is one thing but moving them to another parish to repeat their actions is heinous.

  6. no shite? weird numbers. 5.75 miles?! nope. I’ll have to map this myself, hard to believe that “DGP” is that close to “ECC” (rolling eyes)
    using paradise road/old store as a measure, it’s 18.3 miles via 154.
    Where’d you get 5 & 3/4 mi. south of ECC? I look forward to exploring the map, really. I’m geographically challenged. But this seems to be as the crow flies.
    I call BS on ALL these acronyms! Been here almost as long as Rex, NEVER heard them.

  7. I wasn’t joking maybe it is a weird twisting of gods will why else would catholic priests rape children? and the catholic church does make Al Capone look like romper room…Al Capone did not rape children. I got raped too killed my molester no joke and he looked worse than this guy too bad sometimes rapists rape the wrong kid…The Catholic Church is a criminal institution and that is No Joke …And it always has been.

  8. Actually Rex bought up the priests protecting other priests from being prosecuted for child molestation and protected by the Catholic church in fact several child molesting priests have been protected allowed to live out their days in the Santa Barbara Mission. I hijacked no thread as another first spoke this this before I did but you may blame me as I am sure that most things in your life is someone else’s fault.

  9. I guess I am Anti Catholic when it comes to Priests protecting Priests who sexually rape little children and I do practice what I preach. I hate rapists no matter what so called faith they claim to be I can feel the hate I have for rapists flowing in my veins like a quiet river flowing through my mind. The sad part about it is I’m a god damned catholic of course I’m white too and I’m ashamed of what the white man has done to all the other people of color maybe this is my hell…

  10. don’t fall for this jerkface and his taunts….you’re bigger than that man. this guy is nothing but a coward. You see, in the digital age, guys like him, think they are big and brave hiding behind a computer monitor acting like a passive aggressive child. I’ve dealt with people of this low brow caliber for decades.

  11. not going to argue with anyone here, as that is just pointless online. I fact, why do so many of you try to argue with others while online? Do you really think you’re accomplishing ANYTHING? You’re not. Other than getting yourselves worked up.
    Fact. Serra enslaved and did torture the Chumash. Fact, they did force Catholicism on them forcing them to forget their culture and heritage. Fact. Robert E Lee confederate statue and Serra are different…but not by much. Do I really give two turds about his statue and someone making a statement? Not at all. I go to bed the same and wake up the same tomorrow. If the person or persons that did this, are Chumash, would you change your tone then? Have a great day folks….don’t fight too much with each other…there are bigger things out there to fret over…

  12. Eastbeach – the only thing blurry is your tacit approval via linking it somehow to the Boston Tea Party.
    The fact is that that a criminal vandalized a statue on private property… it ok to go inside the gates of Oprah’s, Kevin Costner’s or Ellen Degenerous estate and deface property that you don’t agree with. How about we all get together and reduce their carbon footprint for them in the name of righteousness (leo Dicraprio)

  13. Gads, shut up the lot of you! Roger simmer down. Everyone picking on him, stop. You’re all just a bunch of people on computers getting worked up over what someone types. Think about it. Just breathe and get on with your day….please!

  14. Not entirely correct. Actually very much not correct. Many of the confederate statues were donated years after because there were more important things to do after a civil war. (Something we will get to see or feel again if we keep this up) The junipero statue was placed up for the same exact reason the confederate statues were. To celebrate a leader who made decisions that society now shuns and has evolved from. I know this kind of vandalism looks really ugly in your home town… maybe you should stop inflicting your opinions on towns with people who have no desire to hear yours. The people in the south have a right to sort out their statues and I think we can do the same… you seem to just want to ignore the fact that we also have statues that can be taken as symbols of oppression. If you can come up with a way the mission was built that did not involve enslaving native Americans I am sure some anthropologist would love to hear it. Just like how all confederate statues where built in the 20th century. You can fact check yourself I don’t have the time.

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