News from Europe

Two Ukrainian priests released by Russia after 19 months of detention

Two Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church priests, Redemptorist Fathers Ivan Levytsky and Bohdan Geleta, have been released from Russian captivity after more than 19 months through a prisoner exchange facilitated by diplomatic efforts involving the Vatican.


The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church announced that Levytsky and Geleta, hieromonks of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, were released last Friday after initially being arrested on the 26th of November 2022 in the occupied city of Berdiansk.

In a recent interview with Ukrinform, a church leader said that the church received “alarming signals” that the priests were being “tortured regularly.”

Supporters say the priests were arrested after military items were falsely placed in their church, leading to charges of “illegal possession of weapons.”

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in 2022, Levytsky and Geleta chose to stay in the occupied territories and served both Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic communities as a “beacon of hope for people under occupation,” the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church contends.


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