Vatican voices shock over priest’s killing in Syria

Vatican voices shock over priest’s killing in Syria

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Monday voiced outrage over the killing of Dutch priest Frans van der Lugt in Syria's central city of Homs, saying he had been "a man of peace".

"According to his companions, he was taken away by two gunmen who beat him and then killed him with two shots to the head," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

"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," he said.

Van der Lugt spent nearly five decades in Syria, and told AFP in February that he considered the country to be his home.

He gained renown for insisting on staying on in besieged Homs despite daily shelling and dwindling supplies.

A Jesuit, Father Frans arrived in Syria in 1966 after spending two years in Lebanon studying Arabic.

"In this moment of great pain, we also express our great pride and gratitude at having had a brother who was so close to the suffering," Lombardi said.


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