2 Jesuits Slain in Moscow

MOSCOW, OCT. 29, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Police are still investigating the violent deaths of two Jesuit priests, killed Saturday and Monday in Moscow.

According to the Jesuit Press and Information Office, Father Victor Betancourt, 42, was killed in his home Saturday. Originally from Ecuador, he worked at the St. Thomas Philosophical, Theological and Historical Institute. Two days later, superior of the region, Father Otto Messmer, 47, returned from a trip abroad and was killed in the same place. Father Messmer was a Russian citizen born in Kazakhstan.

The following day, a fellow Jesuit, alarmed when he was unable to reach the two men, went to visit them at the home where he discovered their bodies.

Police investigations have yet to come to any firm conclusions about the details surrounding their deaths. The priests both sustained wounds to the head.

According to the International Herald Tribune, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II offered his prayers for the priests today.