Pope Francis remembers young Oleksandr, slain Ukrainian soldier

The Holy Father remembers at his weekly General Audience, 23-year-old Oleksandr, a Ukrainian soldier, with his whole life ahead of him, who was killed in the war, as the Pope held the late soldier's rosary and Gospel.

Apr 03, 2024

Pope Francis holding rosary and Gospel of young fallen Ukrainian soldier, Oleksandr, during his Wednesday General Audience (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
"In my hands, I hold a rosary and a New Testament left by a soldier who died in the war. This young man was named Oleksandr - Alexander: 23 years old."

Pope Francis thoughtfully shared this detail before concluding his Wednesday General Audience in the Vatican, as he remembered the countless dead in war-torn Ukraine.

"Oleksandr," the Pope reflected, "read the New Testament and the Psalms, and he had underlined in the Book of Psalms, Psalm 129: 'Out of the depths, I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.'"

This 23-year-old, the Holy Father sorrowfully shared, "died in Avdiivka in the war."

'He left behind a life'
"He left behind a life," the Pope said, revealing that "this is his rosary and his New Testament, which he read, and, with which, he prayed."

The Holy Father invited the faithful in St. Peter's Square to join him in observing a moment of silence, "thinking of this young man and so many others like him, who died in this madness of war."

"War always destroys," Pope Francis concluded, saying, "Let us think of them and pray."

This marks the Pope's latest appeal for suffering Ukraine, and follows his most recent plea for the war-torn nation under attack since Russia's invasion in February 2022, during his Urbi et Orbi address to the faithful of the city of Rome and to the world on Easter Sunday.--Vatican News

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