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October 13 2014 | ROME, ITALY

Memory of martyrs, prayer for peace: the Synod Fathers in prayer with Sant'Egidio for persecuted Christians

Memorial of martyrs of the XX and XXI centuries in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island

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Sunday 12 October, in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew, the Synod Fathers from Europe, Africa and Asia prayed for persecuted Christians together with the Community of Sant'Egidio around the altar that contains the remains of the apostle Bartholomew, in memory of those that lost their lives for the Gospel.

""We venerate the martyrs, who more than anyone indicate the order of things by showing who the Lord is" said Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who presided over the prayer. Remembering the Christians that suffer today in the Middle East and elsewhere, the cardinal said: "Martyrdom is also history and testimony of a profound unity of the Churches in tribulation". In his homily, Cardinal Schönborn also recalled Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, a young Austrian farmer killed by the Nazis in 1943 because he refused strenuously on behalf of his Christian faith, to fight under the orders of Adolf Hitler. His letter and the relics of the martyrs of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas were laid on the altar, accompanied by the prayer of the Synod Fathers, including the Archbishop of the Greek-Catholic Ukraine Church of Sviatoslav Shevchuk. From the memory of the martyrs of the XX and XXI centuries has dawned an invocation of peace and protection for the many persecuted Christians in the world today.

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