Russian clergy and lay Catholics were “caught by surprise” by the pope’s remarks in a video call Aug. 25 to a youth gathering in St. Petersburg praising the country’s past empire and urging young people to “never give up this heritage.”
Russian occupiers launched an attack Aug. 22 on St. Teresa of the Child of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in the town of Skadovsk, located in the Kherson region in eastern Ukraine, Bishop Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk of Odessa-Simferopol confirmed on Facebook.
Ukrainian church leaders have cautiously welcomed news of a Vatican visit by their country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after a fresh wave of Russian missile attacks in anticipation of a counteroffensive by Kyiv’s forces.
A Catholic bishop in the threatened Ukrainian port of Odessa warned of “ferocious resistance” if Russian forces launch a frontal assault.
A Catholic bishop from eastern Ukraine said tensions remain high despite an announced withdrawal of Russian forces.