30 Oct 2008

Priests found dead in Moscow flat

10:16 am on 30 October 2008

Two Jesuit priests have been found dead in a Moscow apartment.

The bodies of Otto Messmer, 47, leader of the Russian Jesuit order, and Victor Betancourt, 42, of Ecuador, were found on Tuesday night.

The door was found ajar and there were no signs of any theft from the flat in upmarket Petrovka Street.

Police said they had severe head injuries and their bodies had lain undiscovered for at least a day.

The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, has expressed his condolences over the killings.

Several Russian Orthodox priests have been killed across Russia in the past few years.

Prosecutors blamed criminals looking to steal icons and other church property.