Samstag, 15. März 2014

(RISU) Catholic priest kidnapped in Crimea

In Sevastopol today armed men seized father Mykola Kvych, pastor and military chaplain ofthe Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He was seized in the church.
The official page of the UGCC states, that this information was confirmed by parishioners who were at the service and by his wife.
In March UGCC priests received oral andwritten threats with the requirement to leave the Crimea. But all pastors have decided not to leave their flock, especially in such difficult times.
Father Nicholas, except his service as pastor, performs duties in Crimea as chief military chaplain of UGCC. "This is - according to Fr. Lubomir Jaworski, deputy head of the Department for Military Chaplancy of the UGCC - could have caused aggression against him from so-called "self-defense units" (armed pro-Russian troops)".
Place where the priest is still unknown. His cell is not responding , even though the phone is not turned off. Around 1 p.m. one of his parishioners called him, father Mykola picked up the phone but was not speaking yet let him hear what was going on around. It was very noisy, he heard yellings and accusations. It seemed that father Mykola was questioned.

Every abduction is a terrible event for everybody involved,” said Bishop Borys Gudziak, the Eparch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy to Vatican Radio. “It’s a gross violation of human rights and God-given human dignity.” He expressed his grave concern about the repercussions of the kidnapping of Father Kvych.

“Our priests and bishops have been very close to the people,” said Bishop Borys. “We’ve been inspired by the example of Our Lord [Who] went a long distance from fellowship with the Father to incarnate Himself and be in our reality.”

He said they have also been inspired by the words of Pope Francis “who said a pastor needs to have the smell of his sheep. And our pastors have been with the people, and they’re today with the people enduring this occupation in the Crimea.”

Bishop Borys made a special appeal “to the authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church, who have in direct or indirect ways supported these moves for the for the occupation of Crimea to do everything in their power to have Father Kvych released and to stop the persecution of Catholic priests and Catholic faithful on this peninsula.”
Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine Archbishop Thomas Gullickson wrote on his Facebook page: "I just received news of the first kidnapping by one of these armed gangs of a Catholic priest in Crimea. The note left at his house was to the effect that this was meant as a warning to all "agents of the Vatican". Please, pray for his release safe and sound" 

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