The blood of martyrs waters the seed of faith

After the tragedy in Baghdad on 31th. Oct. this year, Arabian Christians haven’t given up their hope and trust in Lord. They see their faith strengthened in the 44 martyrs who were killed; among them Father Thair Sad-alla Abd-al and Father Waseem Sabeeh Al-kas Butros, who died along with the faithful with whom they were at prayer.

In accordance with the tradition of the Church, Arab Christians have started a petition for the canonisation of martyrs killed in the Middle-East (not confined to those killed in the incident mentioned above). You can sign this petition online (PLEASE CLICK HERE). Below is their declaration:

Despite this terrible act, we, as Arab Christians, want to reaffirm our joy and our desire to live out our Christian faith in the same land where Christ died and rose again for our salvation, and where his apostles told the good news to our ancestors.

The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity. We have lived here since Pentecost, when the Spirit inspired our forefathers who expressed their faith through diversity – all of whom confess one holy, catholic and apostolic church.

In the tradition of the early Church, we ask that those who died as martyrs be honoured as saints. We call for the canonisation of the following fallen brothers:

— Father Thair Sad-alla Abd-al and Father Waseem Sabeeh Al-kas Butros and their companions who were killed on 31 October in Baghdad’s Syriac church

— The Chaldean Sisters Fawzeiyah and Margaret Naoum, who were stabbed to death on 26 March 2007

— Father Raghid Aziz Ganni and sub-deacons Yousef Daoud, Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Issam Bidawid, also Chaldeans who were killed on 3 June 2007 in Mosul

— Monsignor Paulos Faraj, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosel, who was found dead on 13 March 2008

(list to be completed)

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, who were martyred for their Faith between 1625 to 1886. Universalis gives us the following account:

The evangelization of Vietnam began in the 16th century and was formally established with the setting up of two Vicariates Apostolic in 1659. There are now about 6 million Catholics in Vietnam, some 10% of the population.
This growth comes partly from the fact that, since the earliest times, the seed of the Faith has been watered by the blood of the martyrs of Vietnam – the missionary clergy, the local clergy, and the ordinary Christian people. They have all shared the labour of apostolic work and have together faced death to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel. In the course of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries no fewer than 53 decrees, signed by the lords and emperors of the country from 1625 to 1886, launched one persecution of Christians after another, each one more savage than the last. Over the whole territory of Vietnam about 130,000 Christians were killed in these persecutions. Over the centuries the names of most of them have been lost, but their memory is still alive in the Catholic community.
Since the beginning of the 20th century 117 of these heroes (those whose sufferings were cruellest and best documented) were beatified, in four groups. They were all canonized together by Pope John Paul II on 19 June 1988.

(for more details click here). Let us pray for their intercession for our brothers and sisters in Middle East.

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3 Responses to The blood of martyrs waters the seed of faith

  1. JM says:

    May God bless all these martyrs. Their sufferings remind me of how easy it is for Christians in the West to practise their religion and evangelize without fear. But who knows what the future holds for us?

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  2. joyfulpapist says:

    Habakkuk:

    I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.

    Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
    the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
    the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,

    yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

    God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

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  3. kathleen says:

    Good point Jamie.
    I often wonder and begin to fear for the future of Europe; the way things are going does not look too good! We may not live to see it, but what is in store for our children, grandchildren and their descendants? Unless we get back to our Christian roots and traditions we shall be swamped with other ideologies, most of which hold no room for Christianity.

    And the courage, faith and perseverance shown by our Christian brothers in the strife-torn Middle East is truly heroic and saintly. Hopefully there will be many many signatures of this petition for the canonisation of these holy martyrs.

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