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Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash
World News

Catholic priest burned alive as spark ignites his robes during religious ceremony

by Lydia Davies

During an Easter vigil in Zaragoza, Spain, a tragic incident occurred when Fr Javier Sánchez, was fatally injured after his robe caught fire from a spark during a candle-lighting ceremony.

He suffered severe burns covering 50 per cent of his body and passed away five days later in intensive care.

The accident happened as an ember bowl surrounded by candles unexpectedly ignited his robes.

Local news outlets reported Fr Sánchez heroically attempted to shield nuns from the flames.

A source told Spanish news outlet El Heraldo de Aragón: "The priest tried to protect the nuns of the convent when embers lit up in the basin that was used [for the fire] and that ultimately caused his death. Apparently, a flammable substance had been used to start the fire."

The 60-year-old was transported to the Miguel Servet Hospital in Zaragoza but sadly succumbed to multiple organ failures despite medical efforts.

Beyond his clerical duties, Fr Sánchez was affectionately known as the 'rock priest' for his musical talent, having released three albums over his career. "He was a very vital and very loved person," a friend reflected on his passing, according to The Mail Online.

The Archbishop of Zaragoza, Most Rev Carlos Escribano, publicly mourned the loss, stating: "It is with pain that we communicate that this morning the priest Javi Sánchez has died. We pray for his eternal rest."

Tributes have since flooded in from across the community, with Pilar Martinez from the San Gregorio neighbourhood association expressing shock at the news: "The news of the priest's death came as 'a bucket of cold water,'" she said.

The Brotherhood of Humility also honoured him on Facebook: "May the humility of God and the sweetness of Mary shelter you in heaven. Rest in peace. We will never forget you, Javi. Care for us in glory."

Presided by Archbishop Carlos, Fr Sánchez's funeral will take place on Friday.

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