Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski prays at mass grave in Ukraine

 Papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, pictured in St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29, 2019

A Vatican envoy in Ukraine prayed in silence at the recently discovered mass grave in Izium on Monday while forensic experts in white protective suits exhumed bodies, at least 146 so far.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski said during his visit to the grave site on Sept. 19 that “seeing so many [dead] in one area is a difficult thing … to explain.”

“The words of Sacred Scripture came to mind that evil must always be overcome with good,” he told Vatican News.

Krajewski visited Izium in northeastern Ukraine two days after he was shot at as he delivered humanitarian aid near the city of Zaporizhzhia. He was not injured in the incident.

It is the Polish cardinal’s fourth trip to Ukraine since the start of the war. Pope Francis sent the cardinal as his personal representative to “be with the people who are suffering.”

Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, Ukraine, said that Krajewski gives away rosaries wherever he goes in war-torn Ukraine, including at security checkpoints.

The Ukrainian bishop, who visited the mass grave with Krajewski, told ANSA that “there was a very strong stench” at the site, where they witnessed bodies dug up without legs. 

Honcharuk said that they also visited a police station where he said that people were kept in “terrible conditions: cold, humid, dark, dirty, completely inhumane” during the Russian’s six-month occupation of the area. 

Reuters has reported that 146 bodies, mostly civilians including two children, have been exhumed so far in Izium at the makeshift gravesites marked by wooden crosses.

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