“This morning was hell”: Bomb hits Ukrainian Catholic headquarters

Bomb Catholic diocese headquarters

A bomb struck the headquarters of a Catholic diocese on Tuesday in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, causing extensive damage to the building.

According to the Italian news agency SIR, forty people were sheltering in the basement of the diocesan chancery when the bomb landed on March 1, but no injuries were reported.

Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine, with a population of 1.4 million people. The city has been under bombardment from Russian forces resulting in the deaths of civilians, including children.

Father Gregorio Semenkov, chancellor of the Latin Rite Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia, told SIR, “This morning was hell; the bomb fell on the curia.”

“In the curia these days there are many people, many mothers with children. We are a total of 40 people, and we put them in a safe place. We were all underground, and luckily the bomb hit high up.

“There were bombings in the city centre. The attacks targeted government offices. The bombs also hit the people who were waiting to get bread, and just at that moment, a bomb fell on the curia.

“There are many dead. For now, there is no news about the number of victims and wounded. The internet connection is down, so we don’t have updated information.”

The Latin Rite Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia was created in 2002 and is centred on the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kharkiv. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Lviv of the Latins in western Ukraine.

While most Catholics belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (in communion with Rome), a minority of Catholics in Ukraine are Latin Rite.

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need said on February 28 that Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk, the Latin Rite bishop of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, has “spent the past days in a bunker with several families, as well as with his Orthodox counterpart.

“My message is short because we are under constant bombardment, and I am a little nervous. But we try to act normally. God bless you!”


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