A Catholic priest from Kerala was attacked by a man on Sunday when the former was leading the Sunday mass in a Melbourne church.

"The priest, Tomy Mathew, was stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife by the man during the mass at a Catholic church in Melbourne suburbs," said Thiruvallom Bhasi, editor of a Melbourne daily who is currently visiting Thiruvananthapuram. 

"While the ceremony was on, the accused came forward and shouted that since he (Mathew) is an Indian, he cannot conduct the mass," Bhasi added.

The priest is now said to be out of danger. 

The police, have taken one man into custody,  and are yet to confirm if it was a case of racist abuse.

“At this stage, it is too early to tell (motive), and the investigation is ongoing,” Detective Senior Constable Rhiannon Norton said at a press conference in Melbourne.

Father Mathew has been the parish priest of St Matthew’s since late 2014. He was well-liked by the parishioners, who were shocked by the attack.