Following a month-long occupation by Russian forces—and their subsequent withdrawal from the area—spiritual leaders at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Higher Theological Seminary in Vorzel, a forested village 50 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, have returned to the institution to discover that its statue of Our Lady of Fátima has been desecrated.
Rector Fr. Ruslan Mikhalkiv, along with the spiritual father and rector of the parish of St. John Paul II Fr. Igor Skomarovsky and deacons Anton Pantus and Pavlo Bychynsky, were the first group to arrive at the seminary last week, finding its windows shattered, its valuables looted, and its statue of Our Lady of Fátima desecrated, the Catholic Media Center of the Conference Bishops in Ukraine reports.
Although the seminary’s premises were not damaged significantly, according to Rector Fr. Ruslan Mikhalkiv, the school’s gates and parking lot both suffered serious damage, presumably from infantry fighting vehicles. Additionally, several liturgical items were looted, including a breviary covering, multiple Bibles, and the chalice used by Pope John Paul II.
Most shocking, however, was the desecration of the Our Lady of Fátima statue, which Rector Fr. Ruslan Mikhalkiv believes was carried out with a firearm of some sort.
The news comes amid serious war crime allegations leveled by the collective West against the Russian military —and as Russian and Ukrainian ready themselves for a what’s being called the ‘Battle of Donbas,’ which some are saying is poised to be the largest battle on European soil since World War II.
Days ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a spine-chilling prediction, said: “It could be a big war in Donbas — like the world has not seen in hundreds of years.”
The exceedingly grim forecast echoes statements made by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to NATO members on Thursday, where he stated: “The battle for Donbas will remind you of the second world war.”