Catholic Priest Murdered In Berlin Germany 

Catholic Priest Murdered In Berlin Germany 

Padre Alain-Florent Gandoulou (center)

Berliners mourn death of African priest Alain-Florent Gandoulou.

A popular Francophone African Catholic priest killed in his Berlin bureau, Alain-Florent Gandoulou, has been mourned at a Church Mass. German media say the suspected assailant was from Cameroon.

Deutschland Berlin - Charlottenburg: Pfarrer tot im Büro gefunden (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken)

Berlin’s French-speaking Catholic community held funeral rites for Padre Gandoulou on Sunday February 26, in the city’s St. Thomas Aquinas church, still shocked by the 54-year-old’s violent death on Thursday night.

The Berlin police discovered a lifeless body shortly before midnight, after a phone call from a witness on Thursday night reporting a violent dispute between two men speaking in French inside the Catholic pastoral office. This happened shortly after choir practice according to the eyewitness.

 

The investigation is ongoing and a motive had not yet been established, according to a police spokeswoman quoted by the Protestant church news agency EPD.

Father Gandoulou had been beaten on the head with office objects and was then stabbed in the head with the tip of an umbrella, Germany’s tabloid newspaper Bild reported.

In his home country, Brazzanews described his death as a possible assassination, in connection with a long-standing insurgency in Congo’s Pool region.

Father Gandoulou, a graduate of Bonn University, had been named as a possible future bishop in Congo, it added.

Screenshot der Seite Brazzanews.fr zum Tod von Alain Florent Gandoulou (Brazzanews.fr )

In Berlin, Gandoulou’s pastoral work included counselling refugees.

Suspect in psychiatric detention

A suspect, a 26-year-old man from Cameroon, was found on Friday in the attic of an apartment house in another Berlin district, Reinickendorf, and was taken to a psychiatric institution, according to police. 

The priest’s remains was found inside this building

Gandoulou's body was found inside this Charlottenburg-Berlin building

The Berliner Zeitung (BZ) quoted community member Joachim Moche: “Our priest was always there for us. He brought with him the power to believe and conveyed it to the community. He baptised my son. I am so sad.”

The Francophone pastorate is part of Berlin’s Catholic bishopric and caters for 10,000 French nationals and many thousands of Francophone residents from around the world, according to the Catholic news agency KNA.

‘Very sad moment’

At Sunday’s Mass, the Berlin bishopric’s Vicar General Father Manfred Kolling described Gandoulou’s sudden death as a “very sad moment” and extended condolences from all Berlin Catholics.

Already on Friday, numerous mourners of African origin had gathered outside the church to mourn their highly popular priest public Berlin-Brandenburg broadcasting (RBB) had reported.

Popular in Berlin

Gandoulou was born in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo in 1963. He was ordained as a priest in 1991 and was awarded his doctorate at Bonn University’s theological faculty in 2008.

His topic was “the Battle for Truth and Justice,” focused on the Congolese priest and journalist, Louis Badila, between 1962 and 1990.

In 2009 Gandoulou was assigned to lead the pastoral mission of Berlin’s Paroisse Catholique Francophone, established in 1945.

Brazzanews said he was a keen exponent of music and the arts.

Eternal rest grant unto Padre Alain-Florent Gandoulou oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him, may his Soul rest in peace. Amen. 

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