Blessed
19 martyrs of Algeria
Priests; Bishop; Religious; Martyrs
BornVarious
Various places
Died1994 to 1996
Various places (all in Algeria)
Venerated inCatholic Church
Beatified8 December 2018, Notre-Dame de Santa Cruz, Oran, Algeria by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu
Feast8 May
Attributes
Patronage
  • Ecumenism
  • Persecuted Christians
  • Missionaries

The 19 martyrs of Algeria were a group of nineteen individuals slain in Algeria between 1994 and 1996 during the Algerian Civil War.[1] They all were priests or professed religious belonging to religious congregations, including seven Trappist Cistercian monks; one was a bishop. Their nations of origin were France (15), French protectorate of Tunisia (1), Spain (2), and Belgium (1).[2]

Their collective cause for beatification opened on 31 March 2007 titling them all as Servants of God. Pope Francis confirmed their beatification in 2018 and the group was beatified in Oran on 8 December 2018.

Tibhirine monks and Claverie

Main articles: Murder of the monks of Tibhirine and Pierre Claverie

The Martyrs of Algeria refers to nineteen individuals slain during the course of the Algerian Civil War from 1994 until the death of the Bishop of Oran, Pierre Claverie in 1996. The death of the Trappist monks from the Atlas monastery remain controversial since there are reports that the regular armed forces or the Armed Islamic Group carried out the killings with the latter having owned up to the executions themselves.[3]

The seven Trappist monks from their Atlas monastery were kidnapped at around 1:15am on 27 March 1996 after 20 armed men stormed the place and took the monks prisoner leaving two other, overlooked monks in separate rooms. The telephone lines had been cut meaning a call to police was impossible for the two hidden monks while an enforced curfew meant the two could not drive to the nearest police station.[1] The seven monks were all beheaded two months later and were discovered though the bodies were not. The funeral for the monks was celebrated at Notre-Dame d'Afrique in Algiers on 2 June and their remains were interred at the Tibhirine convent on 4 June.

Beatified

The nineteen individuals beatified were:

Commemorations

On 30 May 2016, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the seven Tibhirine monks at a ceremony naming a garden in the square Saint Ambrose in the 6th arrondissement in their honor as Square des Moines Tibhirine.[11][12][13]

Beatification

The first step towards the beatification came on 5 July 2006 when it was decided that the diocesan process of investigation would take place not in Oran but in the capital Algiers. The official beginning of the cause came following this under Pope Benedict XVI on 31 March 2007 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints titled them all as Servants of God and issued the "nihil obstat" to initiate the proceedings. The diocesan process was opened on 5 October 2007 under Henri Teissier and was closed on 9 July 2012 under Ghaleb Moussa Abdalla Bader. The C.C.S. validated this process on 15 February 2013 and received the Positio dossier for assessment in 2016.[14]

On 1 September 2017 the Archbishop of Algiers Paul Jacques Marie Desfarges and the Bishop of Oran Jean-Paul Vesco met with Pope Francis in a private audience to discuss the cause since theologians had approved the cause at that stage. This meant the C.C.S. needed to approve it before it would be taken to Francis for papal approval. The pope encouraged the bishops and encouraged the cause to proceed.[15] Francis approved the cause on 26 January 2018.[16] The Algerian government granted permission in April 2018 for the beatification to be celebrated on national soil after consultation with ecclesial authorities.[17] The beatification was celebrated in Oran on 8 December 2018 with Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu presiding on the pope's behalf.

The postulator for this cause since 11 October 2013 was the Trappist priest Thomas Georgeon.[9]

In popular culture

The 2010 French film drama Of Gods and Men depicts the lives of the seven Trappist monks until their kidnapping.

For further reading

References

  1. ^ a b c Jeanne Kun (October 2011). "The Trappist Martyrs of Algiers". Living Bulwark. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The Blood of Love, the Martyrs of Algeria 1994-1996". Africa Mission. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  3. ^ Bruce Crumley (16 July 2009). "Could Seven Dead Monks Upset President Nicolas Sarkozy's Bold Plans to Remake France's Legal System?". TIME magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Augustinian Sisters Proclaimed 'Blessed'", The Augustinians, St. Thomas of Villanova Province
  5. ^ "Bienheureuse Odette Prévost", Nominis
  6. ^ Jean-Pierre Schumacher. "The Seven Brothers of Tibhirine". Trappists. Archived from the original on 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  7. ^ Flocchini, Emilia. "7 Trappist Martyrs of Tibhirine", Santi e Beati, December 15, 2018
  8. ^ "Blessed Christophe Lebreton", Find a Grave
  9. ^ a b c d "Sainthood Cause of the Martyrs of Algeria, opened", Communio, 3 December 2013
  10. ^ Shorter, Aylward. "Claverie, Pierre", Dictionary of African Christian Biography, 2003
  11. ^ "Un square en souvenir des moines de Tibhirine". Le Parisien (in French). 29 May 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  12. ^ Bernadelli, Giorgio (15 May 2016). "Square near Bataclan to be named after Tibhirine monks". Vatican Insider. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  13. ^ Demangeat, Isabelle (30 May 2016). "À Paris, un jardin porte le nom des moines de Tibhirine". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  14. ^ Claire Lesegretain (30 March 2016). "One step closer to beatification for the martyrs of Algeria". La Croix. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  15. ^ Nicholas Senèze (4 September 2017). "Will bishop 'martyr' from Algeria be beatified?". La Croix. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, 27.01.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Oran this year". Catholic News Agency. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.