The women were arrested after damaging the statue of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno de Osuna, a 400 year-old likeness of Jesus used in Holy Week processions in the town of Osuna, near Seville in southern Spain.
Police sources told Europa Press that the women entered the church – Iglesia de la Victoria – in Osuna at around 7.30am on Easter Thursday.
One of the women then reportedly climbed onto a table next to the altar, took out a “small object” and slashed the face of the statue of Jesus.
— Correo de Andalucía (@elcorreoweb) March 24, 2016
The damage to the face of Jesus can be seen in the above tweet.
Both women immediately fled the scene and the damage was discovered by a member of the church’s brotherhood, who reported it to the local Guardia Civil.
After checking the church’s security and appealing for witnesses, officers managed to identify the two women.
They confirmed that one is a resident of Osuna with previous convictions.
The second woman’s role, police determined, was that of lookout – to prevent parishioners from entering the church while her accomplice attacked the statue.
Both women were charged with offences against Spain’s Historic Heritage – the statue was from the 17th century – and with offences against religious freedom and sentiment.
The two women were released on Monday as the investigation continues.
The statue of Jesus of Osuna during the 2014 Holy Week parade.