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Missionary priest killed in Homs, Syria

April 07, 2014

A Dutch Jesuit priest who had been sheltering Syrian Christians was shot and killed, execution-style, in Homs on April 7.

Father Frans van der Lugt, who had lived in Syria for 50 years, was reportedly beaten by unidentified assailants, then killed by two bullets to the head. The 75-year-old priest had remained in rebel-occupied Homs, caring for the few Christians who remained in the city, sheltered in a monastery.

In February, Father Van der Lugt had issued an appeal to the world for the people of Homs, who were suffering from constant shelling. A short ceasefire late that month enabled many of the city’s Christians to leave, and the Christian population, once around 60,000, had dwindled to a few dozen.

"This is the death of a man of peace, who showed great courage in remaining loyal to the Syrian people despite an extremely risky and difficult situation," said Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office.


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