MARTYRDOM MAP OF CHRISTIANS
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, The editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’
Another Day of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church is announced by the papal organization Help to the Church in Need. ‘Let’s save the Church in Syria’ – this is the calling which is seen on a poster announcing this prayer initiative, planned for Sunday on 9 November 2014. When the world is keeping silent, our duty is to act, as numbers are terrifying. Every year about 105 thousand Christians are killed, and it means that every 5 minutes one follower of Christ loses his life. Brutal persecutions concern 200 million Christians, and 350 million of them undergo various forms of discrimination.
Last year, during a meeting with representatives of Eastern Churches, pope Francis said: ‘Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land are often flooded with tears. Bishop of Rome will not feel calm as long as there are people of all religions, whose dignity is profaned, who are deprived of what is necessary to live, who are robbed of the future, who are forced to be exiles and refugees. (…). We cannot agree with the thought that the Near East will maintain without Christians, who have been followers of Jesus for two thousand years there’. At present Syria belongs to the most dangerous places in the world for Christians. There are kidnappings, rapes, there, as well as selling people to captivity, there is exodus of inhabitants of these lands. In our eyes Islamic fundamentalists are doing ‘cleansing’ of Syria from Christians. Besides prayers organized by various agendas of the Church, there are more and more personal initiatives which – uniting us during a prayer – take on a general character. Mr. Jan – a reader of ‘Niedziela’ suggested his idea of preparing a martyrdom map, accompanying a prayer for persecuted Christians. The idea appeared during a visit of the ill. Our Reader made a globe where he marked places of martyrdom. He suggests their having it within our sight at the moments of prayer. This prop will help us to be spiritually closer to persecuted Christians – for one can embrace them with the soul’s eyes. The initiative was undertaken by the community of the Ill People Apostolate, whose national priest Fr. Wojciech Bartoszek encourages for prayer and sacrificing one’s suffering in the intention of persecuted Christians. The monthly ‘The Ill People Apostolate and ‘Niedziela’ became a patron of prayer apostolate, whose intentions are suggested by a map of Christians’ martyrdom. Certainly, this prayer initiative refers not only to the ill, on whose prayer at home, in a chapel or a hospital ward one can rely, but also to all of us. We must call for peace, considering particular places in the world, and also support persecuted Christians in over 70 countries of the world with prayer.