Statement on ‘Contemporary Christian Martyrs’
From the Presidents of Churches Together in England
The Presidents of Churches Together in England have expressed their deep sorrow at the alarming increase in violence and murder against Christians in many parts of the world. Receiving reports, in some cases eye-witness reports, of martyrdom in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, among other places, the Presidents call upon all people of goodwill to uphold respect for the sanctity of life and the flourishing of every human being. Stressing the fundamental God-given right and freedom to practice one’s faith and belief, the Presidents call for peaceful co-existence of diverse communities everywhere.
The Presidents remember Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980 because of his Christ-centered stand against the perpetrators of injustice and oppression. They join in prayer with the people of El Salvador where on Saturday 23 May 2015 Archbishop Romero will be declared ‘Blessed’, the penultimate stage before sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
Archbishop Romero stands in a historic line of those who have been martyred for their faith. The Presidents encourage all to work and pray that his death thirty five years ago and the deaths of other Christian martyrs are not in vain; and that the day comes when the peace of God reigns in all our hearts and lives.
you called your servant Oscar Romero
to be a voice for the voiceless poor,
and to give his life
as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope:
grant that, inspired by his sacrifice
and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador,
we may without fear or favour
witness to your Word who abides,
your Word who is Life,
even Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be praise and glory now and for ever.
1) There are six Presidents of Churches Together in England:
Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Catholic Church
Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Free Churches
Billy Kennedy, New Churches, Religious Society of Friends, Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, Orthodox Churches
Bishop Eric Brown, Pentecostal Churches.
2) The Presidents meet regularly to discuss matters of concern to the Churches in England.
3) Churches Together in England is the national ecumenical instrument for England. It is one of the four-nation Churches Together instruments for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England.
4) Further information on www.cte.org.uk
5) Enquiries – Dr Joe Aldred, Acting General Secretary: 020 7529 9131; 077 7563 2288