| Tin tức Việt Nam và quốc tế nóng, nhanh, cập nhật 24h


Nonstop bombing, exploding buildings: Priest describes Mariupol attacks

March 20, 2022 10:52 am
Chia sẻ

(CGOL)  A Ukrainian priest described escaping from his bombed-out parish in Mariupol and said he still hopes some Catholics will survive the relentless Russian onslaught.

20220318T0945 UKRAINE MARIUPOL PRIEST 1523702 preview

A man walks near a block of destroyed apartment buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 17, 2022. A theater in Mariupol, where hundreds of people are said to have taken shelter, has sustained heavy damage after it was bombed by Russian forces. (CNS photo/Alexander Ermochenko, Reuters)

Pauline Father Pavlo Tomaszewski said the decision to leave was not easy, “but when they started shelling the whole city, we realized we’d have to go.”

“They bombed and shelled us without any break for four days — since our monastery had no cellar for hiding in, we could see tall apartments blocks exploding in front of us,” said the priest, who comes from the western city of Kamenets-Podolsky but studied in neighboring Poland.

“Although there’d been water, food and gas and electricity supplies at the beginning, these were deliberately hit to cut off what people needed for daily survival. By the end, with no sense of time, we’d lost any contact with parishioners or with the outside world.”

The priest spoke at a March 18 virtual news meeting organized by the pontifical agency Aid to the Church in Need, as Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed its forces were “tightening the noose” around Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov. Up to 90% of all buildings in the city were reported damaged.

Tomaszewski said he had headed Mariupol’s Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, incorporating multiple ethnicities, including Ukrainians and Russians, since 2011. He worked with two other priests and two St. Vincent de Paul nuns.

He said Catholics had begun leaving, “insecure and frightened,” in 2014, when fighting erupted with Moscow-backed separatists in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, but said Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion had been “completely unexpected” and inflicted “unimaginable suffering.”

Since the invasion, Russian troops have attempted to capture Mariupol, a city of 446,000 between the Crimean Peninsula and Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region.

Tomaszewski said Russian forces had targeted civilians from the outset, bombing and shelling Mariupol’s eastern districts, but had intensified “atrocities against the innocent population” in retaliation for Ukrainian resistance.

The priest added that he had seen three women torn apart by an artillery shell when they went out in search of water.

In a March 16 TV message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said remaining inhabitants were now without food and water, and he compared the situation to the 1941-44 German siege of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Russia.

Russian forces were accused of bombing a Mariupol maternity hospital March 9 and a historic theater sheltering local people March 16, as well as shelling a Mariupol swimming pool complex housing women and children and a convoy of cars evacuating civilians. Although the incidents have been documented on video, Russians have denied the claims.

Tomaszewski said he and another Pauline priest had feared taking icons, chalices and other valuables with them, for fear of being robbed, when they headed north by car toward Zaporizhzhia.

He added that he had witnessed people “behaving like wild animals” on the way, along with leveled residential buildings and burned-out tanks. He said he and other refugees, now in a convoy of 100 cars, had expected to be shot when they were stopped by 40 heavily armed separatists at a checkpoint and told only women and children could pass.

“Some families had already run out of petrol. Though I saw women begging the soldiers on their knees to allow their menfolk to accompany them, the military insisted they’d received orders,” the priest said.

“Hours later, as if sent by God, a local villager arrived and offered to take us in so we wouldn’t freeze to death. Although some people were initially afraid to follow him off the main road, he and others were very kind, even giving us warm beds.”

Tomaszewski said most Catholic priests and nuns had resolved to stay with their communities nationwide, but added that some had been forced to flee as Russia’s “scorched-earth policy” destroyed local infrastructure.

He said he was unaware how many Mariupol Catholics had been killed and injured, but added that the war had created a “huge gulf” between Ukrainians and Russians who previously lived together peacefully.

“No images, pictures or videos can ever reproduce what it’s like to be caught up in this war — but our church will always be with people, showing the face of Christ,” the priest said.

“While there’s no peace, all the diplomatic talks and discussions won’t help the ordinary men, women and children now being bombed and killed daily. Though I’m worried about the beautiful monastery and church I left behind, I’m also hopeful some of our parishioners may still be alive.”

By CRUX staff reporter

1 1

(CGOL) O Trinity, we bless you because from all eternity you have chosen Mary to be the mother of the...

9.11 Benh nhan

(CGOL) Taking care of the elderly, sick and infirm is always a difficult job, even a burden for many people....


(CGOL) A priest in Guinea-Bissau has received death threats after he posted critical comments about President Umaro Sissoco Embaló on...


(CGOL) Argentina – The northern Argentine city of Ingeniero Juarez, in the province of Formosa, is known for being hot...


(CGOL) A Christian with a mature conscience, in moral discernment, needs to understand the various aspects of the matter rather...

cq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.750.422 2

(CGOL) The Bishops of the United States respond to reports of increasing incidents of church vandalism and fires, and urge...

The Cathedral of St Elijah in Aleppo photo 5 555x331

(CGOL) After nearly a decade of being caught in the middle of Syria’s bloody civil war, Christians in the country...

Comboni Mass 690x450

(CGOL) Ohio - One month after a major pan-African summit wrapped up in Nigeria, Ugandan missionary priest Father Ruffino Ezama...

cq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.750.422 3 1

(CGOL) Đức Hồng Y Luis Antonio Tagle của Manila đã đọc một bài giảng trong một thánh lễ trước khi...


(CGOL) In the Gospel (Luke 7:28), Jesus said to the crowd: "There is no one greater among men born of...


(CGOL)In his Christmas message issued on January 6, the head of the Ethiopian Bishops' Conference asks the faithfull to ask...


(CGOL)  During his installation in the capital Lomé, Togo’s newest archbishop called on presidential candidates to be “servants of the...


(CGOL) With the start of the new year, a seasoned Philadelphia musician is taking on a new challenge as director...

rva visit to zimpeto hospital

(CGOL) Most Christians would agree it is wrong to hate someone, but it is also wrong to be indifferent, which...

1000 9

(CGOL)  British Cardinal Vincent Nichols is calling on the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow Ukrainian refugees “to...


 (CGOL) Hailed in early news reports for its opening of top Vatican leadership roles to any baptized lay person, including...

20220318T0945 UKRAINE MARIUPOL PRIEST 1523702 preview

(CGOL)  A Ukrainian priest described escaping from his bombed-out parish in Mariupol and said he still hopes some Catholics will...

Archbishop Aquila Pro Life Rally 031222

(CGOL) Testifying against legislation that would codify a right to an abortion into Colorado law, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver...


(CGOL) In 2014, I published a list of ‘100 Best Catholic Movies.’ Below I have arranged the list not by...

error: Bạn cần được Công Giáo online cho phép thao tác !!