Litergy of the Passion the church of the seminary at Vorzel  Litergy of the Passion the church of the seminary at Vorzel  

ACN to fund re-opening of devastated seminary in Kyiv

The Pontifical charity, Aid to the Church in Need announces it will help rebuild the Sacred Heart Seminary in Vorzel, Kyiv which was damaged and looted by Russian troops in the early days of the war.

By Vatican News staff reporter

On the 25 February over a two dozen young men training for the priesthood, were forced to flee the Sacred Heart Seminary, 30 Km east of Kyiv in Ukraine after Russian Federation troops seized the capital's International Airport and made their way to Vorzel.

Looting and damage

After the seminary had sustained damage from two mortar bombardments, the soldiers proceeded to enter the buildings taking whatever they could. They even took a chalice donated by Pope St John Paul II when he visited Ukraine in 2001.

Throughout this war, there have been stories of suffering and heartache but there are also glimpses of light and hope that breakthrough.

ACN support

For the seminary in Vorzel, this hope is being provided by Aid to the Church in Need which has promised to cover the costs of replacing the furniture and equipment that was stolen in addition to rebuilding.

This lifeline means that the seminary will again be able to re-open its doors in September.

Recalling the scenes of devastation, seminary rector Father Ruslan Mykhalkiv told ACN that the buildings were left in a terrible state.

Forced to flee

 “They took everything they could – kitchen utensils, washing machines, computers and air conditioners," he said. "The seminarians’ rooms were ransacked and they took liturgical items.”

Russian troops had already occupied neighbouring Bucha, where they reportedly killed hundreds of civilians.

As they approached Vorzel, students and seminary staff fled with five children from the nearby orphanage and the two Sisters caring for them.

Father Mykhalkiv was able to return last month after Russian forces were driven out from the area around Ukraine’s capital.

“We will be very grateful to ACN, if our seminarians manage to return in September,” he said.

Ongoing assistance

ACN head of Ukraine projects, Magda Kaczmarek, stressed that helping the Church to recover would be part of the charity’s ongoing work in the country.

 “Since the war started, we have been giving our full support to the local Church of both rites, Latin and Greek Catholic,” she said.

“First with emergency support in the war zones, and for refugees in the west of the country…

“Furthermore, in a second phase, we have been helping the parishes and monasteries in Ukraine that opened their doors to refugees, giving them material and spiritual support.

“In a third phase, and within our possibilities, we want to help repair the damage.”

Since the invasion of Ukraine, ACN has given more than £2 million in emergency aid to help the Church minister to those affected by the war.

This includes aid announced last week providing food and shelter for more than 200 displaced women and children being cared for by Ivano-Frankivsk Archdiocese in western Ukraine.

11 May 2022, 14:45