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May 2000

Two Thirds of all Martyrs ever Killed were in the 20th Century: Statements by President of Commission of New Martyrs

In the 2000 years of the Church’s history, two thirds of all the martyrs died in the 20th century (close to 27 million out of a total of 40 million). This was the revelation made by Bishop Michel Hrynchyshyn, Exarch of the Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite in France, and president of the Commission of New Martyrs of the Vatican Jubilee Committee, a group of 10 experts established a few years ago by the Pope, with the task of gathering information on the martyrs of our century from the Churches of all the different Christian confessions. (Zenit).

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In our prayers and personal meditations, let us remember the examples of:

The evangelical Peruvian village leader who was executed March 20 after Marxist guerrillas declared him guilty of taking part in police and military activities. Antonio Izuisa Chasnamote, the mayor of Ramal de Aspuzana, died from two gunshots wounds to the head following a ‘people’s trial’ conducted by some 20 terrorists, who identified themselves as members of the Shining Path rebel group. They had captured Izuisa as he returned from a sports outing with his eight children, who witnessed his execution. La Republica newspaper of Lima reported that Izuisa, 60, asked the terrorists to not kill him “because, as an evangelical, he preached the Word of God in the community.” The murder occurred in Ramal de Aspuzana, a jungle community some 60 miles from the east-central city of Tingo Maria and approximately 225 miles northeast of Lima. The region had been a hotbed of terrorist activity before the capture of Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman in 1992. Since then, sporadic Shining Path violence has broken the prevailing peace in Tingo Maria and its surrounding region. Recently, guerrillas have been more active in the region, Vinces said. “Shining Path incursions have increased in the area in an attempt to force and threaten people to not vote in upcoming presidential elections,” he said. The manner in which Izuisa died was typical of the Shining Path. “The guerrillas target individuals for ‘liquidatin’ by having a ‘people’s trial’ and then killing them,” Vinces said. (Dean Alford, for Compass Direct).

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Sources of the Angolan Council of Christian Churches disclosed that 6 faithful of the Baptist Church were stoned and crucified by UNITA (National Union for Total Independence of Angola) rebels, led by Jonas Savimbi. -- (Zenit)

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A Christian-Muslim conflict in Damboa in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state resulted in the deaths of 15 Christians, and four churches were burned. The attack on Christians by Muslims broke out on March 27 and lasted through the next day. Eight Christian-owned houses and several shops were looted. Thousands of Christians, mostly women and children, have fled the area. The conflict between Christians and Muslims in the town has lasted for more than a year. Muslims have been putting pressure on the government to relocate all churches to the outskirts, because the Muslims say Christian worship services are a disturbance to them. The Borno state acting police commissioner said the crisis resulted from the attack on churches by Muslim fanatics armed with axes, knives and daggers. (Compass Direct)

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