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Find out where modern Christian martyrs are honored in Rome

2014-06-29

In his trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis said there are more Christian martyrs now, than in the early days of the Church. 

Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island proves it. It has six altars and every one of them honors the lives of Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox who were killed, in recent decades, because of their faith. 

From the rosary of Zeferino Giménez Malla, who is the first Gypsy to be declared a Blessed, to the Bible of Shabaaz Bhatti of Pakistan, who as a Christian minister was killed for defending the rights of religious minorities. 

On the altar dedicated to martyrs who died at the hands of Nazis, are letters written by Christians, where they try to reach out to their families. 

FR. FRANCESCO TEDESCHI
Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island
"Specifically we have the letter that Paul Schneider, the Protestant pastor, wrote before dying in the Buchenwald prison. He was killed because despite the sanctions, he continued to preach the Gospel.” 

On the altar dedicated to martyrs who were killed under the order of the communism regime, are relics of Polish priest, Jerzy Popieluzsko, who in 1984 was kidnapped and murdered by policemen. 

There's also an altar dedicated to Latin American martyrs

FR. FRANCESCO TEDESCHI
Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island
"It's a beautiful altar because in it, we find the Missal of late Archbishop Romero, of El Salvador, who was killed during the country's civil war. Next to the Missal of  Archbishop Romero is the ferula that belonged to Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, Archbishop of Guadalajara, who was killed by drug dealers in Mexico.” 

Honoring these martyrs gained strength under the pontificate of St. John Paul II, who in the year 2000, instituted a new commission and announced that this Basilica would honor the lives of martyrs

That commission completed its work and published a list of martyrs. Even though years have passed, the Community of Sant' Egidio, which cares for the Basilica, continues to collect testimonies of Christian martyrs who have died because of their faith. 


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