According to the Archbishop of Vienna, during his Easter homily, confirmed everyone’s worst fear that Father Thomas Uzhunnalil was crucified at the hands of an ISIS-linked group on Good Friday – the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.
Father Tom was a 56 year old Indian Priest working at a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen called Missionaries of Charity. when he was abducted by gunmen of an ISIS-linked organization shortly after celebrating mass.
16 others were killed in the attack on the elderly home where Fr. Tom worked as Chaplin. Since his capture, it has been rumored that the group planned to crucify him on Good Friday – the same method of death suffered by Christ thousands of years ago.
A nun that survived the attack said it was ISIS that was responsible and she saw him being driven away in a car. A few days later the South Africa-based Franciscan Sisters of Siessen made a post to Facebook (which has since been deleted) saying:
The Vatican and Bangalore province of the Salesians, the religious order that Fr. Tom belonged to never confirmed the crucifixion rumors saying that they couldn’t confirm anything about his whereabouts or health. They urged all Christians and people across the world to continue praying for his release. This is what a spokesperson for his order had to say previously:
“In this context, we reiterate that till date no further information has come to us from credible and authoritative sources regarding the whereabouts or wellbeing of Fr Tom. Therefore we earnestly appeal to all concerned to desist from forwarding all such unsolicited and misleading messages and spreading false rumours. In the meantime, let us continue to pray for Fr Tom so that the Lord may protect him from all harm and relieve him from the clutches of the evil forces sooner than later.”
On Easter Sunday though, this had all changed when Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, confirmed the rumors during his Easter homily. The source of confirmation for his claims came from The Corpus Christi Dubai, a prayer group in Dubai, that reported on the supposed crucifixion.
Cardinal Schönborn later told an Australian news reporter:
“We hope that it’s not so, but we have to fear that it’s true”.
It should be noted that neither the Vatican, nor the Indian government, nor Fr. Tom’s order, have received any official word on the crucifixion either. However, Catholic Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Cuoto said:
“If the reports are true I’m very sad. The international community must act immediately, seriously and honestly to stop the ISIS brutality and particularly against Christians.”
Do you believe the report is true? Sound off in the comments below!