Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/8/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage who had refused to leave the city despite the ongoing civil war there, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who "despite an extremely difficult and risky situation, wanted to remain faithful to the Syrian people to whom he had dedicated his life and his spiritual service."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Father Frans was killed in the garden of our monastery," Rev. Ziad Hillal, another Jesuit who lived there told Vatican Radio. "They shot him in the head. It was a premeditated act."
The priest was taken from the monastery in the morning and shot twice in the head, according to the Jesuit order in the Netherlands. "I can confirm that he's been killed," Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, said by phone.
"A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head. In the street in front of his house."
Stuyt said he was not aware of particular threats to van der Lugt, adding that the priest would be buried in Syria "according to his wishes."
Lombardi praised van der Lugt as a man of great courage who "despite an extremely difficult and risky situation, wanted to remain faithful to the Syrian people to whom he had dedicated his life and his spiritual service."
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans wrote on his Facebook page that van der Lugt "only brought good to Homs, was a Syrian among Syrians, (who) refused to abandon them even when it meant risking his own life."
Christians comprised only 10 percent of Syria's population before protests in 2011 led to a wider civil war. The minority traditionally supported President Bashar al-Assad for protecting them and has been attacked by his opponents for that stand.
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