Two Jesuit priests were killed while sharing a meal in their Moscow apartment, officials said Wednesday.

Rev. Igor Kowalewski, the general secretary of the Catholic Russian Bishops Conference, said the priests' bodies were found late Tuesday in an apartment in downtown Moscow.

"They were brutally murdered," Kowalewski told The Associated Press, adding they apparently were stabbed to death.

Kowalewski said one of the priests was a Russian citizen and the other a national of Ecuador.

Moscow police spokesman Maxim Kolosvetov said an official investigation has been launched. He declined to comment on possible reasons behind the killings or to give further details.

The Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor General's office, which took up the case, said the priests' bodies were found at an apartment owned by the Russian branch of the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuit order is formally known.

The apartment building is located on the same street as the city police headquarters.

The committee said the victims apparently died of head injuries a day earlier. It said the victims seem to have been sharing a meal when they were attacked.

The apartment's door was open, but there was no immediate information about any valuables missing from the apartment, the committee said.