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Bishop Rolando Álvarez (CNS/Maynor Valenzuela, Reuters)

The Nicaraguan dictatorship of Daniel Ortega on Sunday released and sent to the Vatican two imprisoned bishops along with 15 priests and seminarians. Source: CNA.

In tears, Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez, exiled due to persecution by the Ortega dictatorship, confirmed the news of the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa and Bishop Isidoro Mora of Siuna and the remaining priests and seminarians: “Our pastors are free.”

The Ortega dictatorship issued a statement thanking Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and his team “for the very respectful and discreet coordination that made possible the trip to the Vatican of two bishops, 15 priests, and two seminarians”.

“They have already been received by Vatican authorities, in compliance with agreements of good faith and goodwill, which seek to promote understanding and improve communication between the Holy See and Nicaragua, for peace and wellbeing,” the Ortega regime indicated in the statement. 

A similar release took place in October 2023 when 12 imprisoned priests were sent from Nicaragua to Rome.

In August 2022, Bishop Álvarez, a defender of human rights and critic of the Ortega regime, was forced to remain in his official residence along with several priests, seminarians, and a layman.

Two weeks later, the Nicaraguan police broke into the house, kidnapped Bishop Álvarez and took him to Managua, the country’s capital, where he was placed under house arrest.

On February 10, 2023, the dictatorship sentenced Bishop Álvarez to more than 26 years in prison, accusing him of being a “traitor to the homeland”.

Bishop Mora was arrested by Nicaraguan authorities on December 20, 2023, the day after he celebrated Mass and encouraged the faithful to pray for Bishop Álvarez.


Nicaraguan dictatorship releases Bishop Álvarez, brother bishop, and priests (By David Ramos, ACI Prensa via CNA)


Holy See receives Bishops Álvarez, Mora, 15 priests after Nicaragua frees them (Vatican News

Catholic organisations urge prayer for Nicaragua amid crackdown on Church (OSV News)