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Russian troops looted a seminary in Ukraine, stealing even the rector’s sneakers

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Courtesy of Caritas - Spes Zhytomyr Facebook page

Aleteia - published on 04/14/22

Liturgical vestments and vessels were missing, including the commemorative chalice used by St. John Paul II during a 2001 Holy Mass.

Russian invading troops plundered the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary in Vorzel, Kiyv District, Ukraine, wrote Roman Catholic Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskiy of Kiyv-Zhytomyr Diocese.

“The plunderers made a forced entry, taking down the sturdy seminary gate. They stole everything worth selling, from air conditioning units, washing machines, computers, routers, and kitchen appliances through to the rector’s favorite if much worn sneakers he used for his morning jogs. The seminary needs time to return back to normal as the power and gas supply has been cut off; there is no running water. Some liturgical vestments and vessels are missing, too, including the commemorative chalice used by St. John Paul II during the Holy Mass he said in 2001,” Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskiy of Kiyv-Zhytomyr wrote on Facebook.

When Fr. Ruslan Mikhalkiv, the rector of the seminary, returned to ransacked seminary on April 7, he surveyed the damage. He told Catholic News Agency that while everything had been stolen, he was particularly unsettled when he discovered shattered statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

“I have been studying for days how exactly it was destroyed,” Mikhalkiv told CNA after finding the statue of the Virgin Mary on the floor of the seminary’s dining room.

CNA reported his reaction:

“At first, we thought the military might have come in and overturned the figure, or perhaps it had been knocked over by a rocket explosion, because the windows there were also broken.” 

“I also thought that a shell fragment might have hit the figure.” 

“In the end, I had the impression that it had been a blow from the devil to the Blessed Virgin Mary, just when we were consecrating Ukraine and Russia to her Immaculate Heart,” the priest said, referring to the worldwide act of consecration on March 25.

“I am not particularly prone to put things in such supernatural terms, but this affair struck me as very unusual.”

“The wily devil, when he loses, what can he do? Only destroy.”

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