ROME: From the Bible of a murdered Pakistani government minister to the prayer book of a slain San Salvador archbishop, a Rome church has created a unique memorial to modern-day Christian martyrs.
At a time of outrage over anti-Christian violence in Africa, the exhibits at the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew are a poignant testament to thousands of Christians killed for their faith around the world over the past century.
The initiative was begun by late pope John Paul II in 1993 and the ancient church now draws a steady stream of pilgrims to pay tribute to victims from all Christian denominations including Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.
On a recent visit, a group of 30 Iraqis came to pray in front of the stole of a Chaldean Christian priest, Raghi Ghani, assassinated in Mosul in 2007.
Angelo Romano, the friendly parish priest and a member of the Rome-based Catholic international charity group Sant’Egidio, greeted the pilgrims.
“You are living through a difficult period. We are praying for you. The blood of the martyrs will not have been spilt in vain,” Father Romano said.