SPOKANE, Wash. – A Jesuit priest who studied at Gonzaga University and later oversaw Jesuit works in Ukraine for 13 years after the fall of the Soviet Union says a refugee center he helped start in the western city of Lviv is in the middle of citizens’ flight from the war.

“Lviv is now receiving about 50,000 refugees per day,” said Jesuit Father David Nazar, who was born in Toronto to a family of Ukrainian origin. “Virtually all the displaced people who are fleeing to Poland and more broadly in Europe would be passing through, so the center is very busy with the refugees providing advice for other organizations.”

Lviv, just 43 miles from the Polish border, was considered mostly safe at the start of the war, then suffered attacks and now has calmed again. The center there is run by Jesuit Refugee Service.

“Ukraine has a very religious culture and the churches have a high appeal and authority among the people,” Father Nazar said.

The churches’ voice was front and center, he said, during the Orange Revolution of 2004, a move against Russian influence.

Father Nazar said Russian support for President Vladimir Putin is weak compared to the power of the Soviet era. He called the current war a battle between two world views.