Fatima statue “decapitated” by Russian missile comes to Rome

 | 
11/12/2022
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This statue of Our Lady of Fatima has traveled 1,500 miles from just outside Kyiv to Rome, but it wasn't damaged along the way. 

Rather, the statue of the Virgin Mary lost its head 

as a result of bombings in Vorzel, Ukraine, which struck near the town's Catholic seminary shortly after it was evacuated by its religious community to flee nearby violence. 

FR. RUSLAN MYKHALKIV
Rector, Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary

We found it decapitated like that. It happened when we were bombed by Russian missiles, and a piece of debris hit us and left Our Lady like that. And we learned that it happened around the same time that the Pope consecrated the world, and especially Russia and Ukraine, to the immaculate heart of Mary, in front of an image of Our Lady of Fatima just like this one.

Pope Francis consecrated both Russia and Ukraine to the immaculate heart of Mary on March 25 in St. Peter's Basilica. 

Yet Russian troops had already occupied and looted Fr. Ruslan's seminary, taking anything of value they could find, from computers and washing machines, to a chalice donated by Pope John Paul II on his visit to Ukraine in 2001. 

FR. RUSLAN MYKHALKIV
Rector, Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary

The Russians came to [our seminary], from different people we heard that they spent three, four, maybe five days there, and as happens in a war they took many things, even religious things.
We've had to rebuild everything.

Now Fr. Ruslan has brought this statue to Rome, along with a portrait of the Nativity painted by a Ukrainian artist on an abandoned chest of Russian weaponry. They were presented in Rome at the launch for a book collecting Pope Francis' messages on the war in Ukraine, compiled by Italian journalist Francesco Grana.

The seminary's rector says he hopes they will be a tangible reminder to Catholics of the importance of praying for those suffering in his country.

FR. RUSLAN MYKHALKIV
Rector, Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary

War is a realty that is only felt physically.
We looked to bring this reality closer, so we organized with the rector of this church, the so-called “Artists' church” to physically bring closer and in some way to make felt this reality, and to see what these prayers are for, and what the thoughts and aid which we receive so much of serve for.

Fr. Ruslan's seminary was visited by the Vatican's Foreign Minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, after the community returned there. After months of rebuilding, the seminary began holding classes once again this past September, although its statue of Our Lady in Fatima will remain in Rome for the time being.

JM

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