Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priests Released from Russian Captivity

It is with immense gratitude that Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) informs about the release from Russian captivity of Fathers Ivan Levitsky and Bohdan Geleta, on June 28, 2024, as has been confirmed by the Information Department of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), to which they belong.

Priests Ivan Levytsky and Bohdan Geleta in Russian detention
Priests Ivan Levytsky and Bohdan Geleta in Russian detention

The priests are members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and were arrested in occupied Berdyansk on November 16, 2022. Despite the danger, following the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Fathers Ivan Levitsky and Bohdan Geleta chose to stay in the occupied territories, ministering to both Greek and Roman Catholic communities and providing hope under occupation.

During their captivity, Fathers Levitsky and Geleta were accused of illegal possession of weapons, charges fabricated to justify their imprisonment. Their prolonged detention was marked by a lack of concrete information about their whereabouts and wellbeing, despite reports of torture and abuse. Despite this, their faith and hope persisted.

The released priests greeted by Apostolic Nuncio Visvaldas Kulbokas
The released priests greeted by Apostolic Nuncio Visvaldas Kulbokas

The head of the UGCC, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, expressed profound gratitude to the Holy See, particularly to Pope Francis, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, and Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, for their efforts in securing the priests’ release.

Despite the joy of this news, ACN recalls that many innocent civilians remain in custody, and invites it’s friends and benefactors to continue to pray for their release, and for peace in Ukraine.

 

By Maria Lozano.

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