MOSCOW (CNS): In a ghoulish reminder of Western Ukraine’s bloody recent history, Catholic monks have stumbled across a mass grave containing the remains of 226 people murdered in the chaotic years immediately after World War II.
The discovery, made at the Basilian Nativity of Christ Monastery in late April and publicised last month, shocked the six priests and five monks living in the 17th-century monastery.
“When we moved here in 1992, we felt that something was just not right,” said Fr Vasily Tuchapets, who is rector of the monastery’s church, under which the remains were found.
“There is a cellar under the church with two rooms and a tunnel connecting the church to the monastery. When we went into the cellar, that’s when we started finding bones,” he said.
In early July, when investigators finished clearing out the church cellar, they had found the remains of 226 people, 83 of them children and two of them pregnant women. The killers, who beat and shot their victims, carefully stripped the bodies of clothing, perhaps so as to hinder later identification, investigators said.