Dutch Jesuit Fr Frans van der Lugt shot dead in Homs

Today we received the terribly sad news about the assassination of our companion Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ in Homs, who chose to stay there to carry out his service and offer support to the people despite the evident dangers. May he rest in the love of Christ and may the Lord continue to give courage to all our companions who offer their lives in the service of the victims of war, violence and injustice.

"Christians and Muslims are going through a difficult and painful time and we are faced with many problems. The greatest of these is hunger. People have nothing to eat. There is nothing more painful than watching mothers searching for food for children in the streets...I will not accept that we die of hunger. I do not accept that we drown in a sea of hunger, letting the waves of death drag us under. We love life, we want to live. And we do not want to sink in a sea of pain and suffering." - Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ, (video appeal, Jan 2014)

Below we bring you a number of reports.

THE DEATH OF FATHER FRANS VAN DER LUGT - Servizio Digitale d’Informazione SJ - Ufficio Stampa e Informazione:

This morning, Father Frans Van der Lugt was abducted by masked gunmen from our residence at Homs, in Syria, where he used to live, and was executed by gun shots. Fr. Frans was born in the Netherlands in 1938, entered the Society of Jesus in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1971. He worked in Syria since 1960. Despite the dangers, he had voluntarily decided to remain in the city of Homs in solidarity with the people who could not leave the city. He remains in our thoughts and prayers.


Jesuit priest “man of peace” killed in Homs, Syria - Radio Vaticana

(Vatican Radio) Dutch Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt, a priest who lived in the war-torn Syrian city of Homs, was killed this morning. Fr. Alex Basili, Provincial of the Jesuits in the Middle East and the Maghreb confirmed the news to the Catholic news agency Fides. Fides reports that on Monday, April 7 , at around 8 am, Father Frans van der Lugt was abducted by armed men who beat him and then killed him with two bullets to the head in front of the Jeusuit residence in Homs. 

In a statement, the Holy See’s press spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said Fr. Van der Lugt “died as a man of peace, who with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation, wanted to remain faithful to the Syrian people to whom he had dedicated so many years of his life and spiritual service. Read on...


Syria: Dutch priest Fr van der Lugt shot dead in Homs - BBC News Middle East:

A Dutch priest well known for refusing to leave the besieged Syrian city of Homs has been shot dead by a gunman.

Frans van der Lugt, who was in his 70s, had become a renowned figure in the rebel-held area that has been blockaded by government forces for nearly two years.

He had refused to be evacuated, saying he would not leave Homs while there were still Christians in the city.

... Read On


Dutch priest shot dead in Homs - The Guardian:

... Van der Lugt also sought to draw attention to the suffering of civilians in blockaded Homs. "Hunger defeated us! We can see its signs drawn over the faces," he wrote in January on a Syrian Christian Facebook page.

"People are wandering the streets screaming; We are starving, we need food! They stop by the inhabited houses trying to find some food. Hunger breaks the rules and eliminates all moral principles. We are living a scary reality. Human beings turn into wild animals living in the wild."

Albert Abdul-Massih, who worked with Van der Lugt, said the priest held a doctorate in psychiatry and led an austere life. "He was a Christian clergyman but he wasn't conservative," he said. "We learned humanity from him, and he used to love Muslims as much as he loves Christians … He was treating people for free and he was a fluent Arabic speaker."...

... Read full feature 



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