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Christians and Muslims from Homs have not forgotten Jesuit murdered in 2014

Dutch Jesuit Frans van der Lugt spent 50 years in Syria. He lived in Homs, a city that underwent one of the bloodiest episodes of the country's civil war. It was besieged for three years, from 2011 to 2014. People were literally starving to death.

A few weeks before the end of the battle, someone knocked on the door of the priest's residence and shot him to death.

He was 75 years old. His death moved the city's remaining residents, including Muslims like Samer Al-Dahhak.

Friend of Fr. Frans van der Lugt

“I felt terrible when I heard the news. I cried a lot. My parents also cried because they were his friends. They cried more than I did. He was a family friend.”

Despite the war and his age, Fr. Frans refused to abandon Syria. Decisions like this one, paired with his friendly and welcoming disposition, made Fr. Frans loved by everyone. He was considered a Syrian like any other.

Friend of Fr. Frans van der Lugt

“Whenever we went on excursions, be it in the desert, the mountains, or towns, he had a tremendous capacity to relate to others. He had a sort of magic that allowed him to grow close to people. We were impressed by that marvelous way in which he connected with people.”

Fr. Frans was buried in the garden of the Jesuit residence where he lived. His grave is constantly visited by people from the neighborhood, both Christians and Muslims. There they pray to end war and bring peace to Syria.