Russian forces have destroyed the Catholic church in the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukraine, after a continuous and indiscriminate shelling bombardment, according to local reports.
The website of the Catholic church in Ukraine reported that the it was destroyed along with people’s homes and places of work.
In a statement, local church leaders said the attack marked yet another blow to “our families, our church, and our infrastructure,” but stressed the news would further “mobilize us to ask the Lord for the gift of victory over evil that is perpetrated by a country whose leaders’ actions have destroyed the Holy Spirit in their hearts and rejected God.”
Pavel Honcharuk, the Bishop for the Kharkiv and Zaporozhye region, revealed that priests cannot reach the city of Bakhmut because the roads are blocked. He has asked for the faithful to pray.
The fighting close to the city of Bakhmut is continuing daily as Russians fire 180-200 artillery rounds per day.
The Catholic church in Bakhmut was built at the beginning of the 20th century through the parishioners’ fundraising efforts. In 1917, the parish was 3,200 strong. The Soviets closed the church and used it as a place of work, but the building was returned to the Church in 2005 and has been renovated thanks to both domestic and foreign funding.
The destruction of the church in Bakhmut is not the first such act by the Russians in this war. A 170-year old church, a heritage site, was destroyed in Kyselivka in the first months of the war. It had been attended by around 50 people whose families had Polish roots.