News from Europe

Ukrainian American pastor kidnapped by Russian troops

Moscow Orthodox Church

Invading Russian troops have reportedly abducted a 50-year-old Ukrainian American pastor in the southern city of Melitopol, a month after they captured the city’s mayor and released him six days later in exchange for nine Russian soldiers.


About 10 Russian soldiers arrived at the home of Dmitry Bodyu, bishop of the Word of Life Church in Melitopol city last Saturday and took him away, his family said, according to NBC News, adding that the troops also confiscated his American passport and the family’s phones and other devices.

The Russian troops were not aggressive and seemed to know he was a pastor and a U.S. citizen, the pastor’s wife, Helen Bodyu, was quoted as saying.

His eldest daughter, Esther Lily Bodyu Ogawa, said, “They walked in and they just started kind of questioning him right away, like, ‘Are you guys American citizens?’ — that’s one of the first questions they had.”

His last Facebook message before his abduction, read: “If you need help of any kind or you have nowhere to stay or afraid to be at home…the church is open. I am in the church building…very thick walls…solid building. That’s why you can be there. We will try our best to supply as much as possible… May God’s peace be upon your hearts and keep you safe. Let’s all pray and call on the Lord that the Lord will keep us from every harm in the name of Jesus Christ.”


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