» 04/07/2014, 00.00
Homs: Fr Frans Van of the Lugt, who fed Christians and Muslims, is killed
The reasons for the attack remain unclear. Some sources told AsiaNews that the priest was involved in mediation between the rebels and the army to save the local population, tried by starvation and constant shelling.
(AsiaNews) - Fr Frans Van der Lugt (pictured)
was killed this morning in Homs, a rebel-held city under siege from government forces.
The 75-year-old Jesuit priest had lived in Syria for 50 years.
In a statement, the Jesuit Curia of the Provinces of the Near East and the Maghreb
reported that the clergyman "was abducted by armed men who beat him and
then executed him with two bullets to the head" in front of the Jesuit
residence in Homs.
The latter had become a refuge for many people whose homes had been
destroyed by incessant shelling and bombing during two years of siege, and a
place where they could share some of the food and water left in the city.
In February, AsiaNews had posted his
appeal on behalf of the people of Homs, who were suffering from hunger
and mental anguish resulting from bombing, shelling, insecurity and lack of medicines.
The siege and
continued shelling in the city had reduced the Christian community from 60,000
to just 66, the Dutch priest said.
Fr Van of the Lugt never tried to leave Homs. In
an interview a few months ago, he had said: "The Syrian people
have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have.
If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their
The reasons for the attack remain unclear. Some
sources told AsiaNews that the
clergyman was involved in mediation between the rebels and the army to save the
people of Homs.
The Jesuit priest had come to Syria in 1966 after studying Arabic for two
years in Lebanon.
Fr Frans van der Lugt stayed in Homs even when 1,400 people were able to
leave the city thanks to an UN-mediated truce and food and water were brought
A few days before the truce, the priest had posted a video
describing the dramatic situation of the people of Homs.
In it, he could be heard saying, "We, Christians and Muslims, live in
difficult and painful conditions; we especially suffer from hunger. We love
life and we do not want to die or drown in an ocean of death and
A yellow sign next
to him read: "Starvation is more painful than dying of chemical weapons."
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
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