Seven of the nineteen martyrs rose to international fame following the film Of Gods and Men. But on December 8th, all of the 19 men and women martyred by Islamic terrorists in Algeria between 1994 and 1996 will be beatified in Oran, Algeria. The cause for their beatification opened in 2007, thus titling Pierre Claverie and Companions as Servants of God. Earlier this year His Holiness Pope Francis confirmed their beatification.

On December 8th the ceremony of beatification will take place in the cathedral of the Diocese of Oran, of which the martyred Pierre Claverie was bishop. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside the beatification Mass as well as represent the Holy Father on the occasion. In their press release of October 2018, the bishops of Algeria make it clear that the purpose of the beatification is not to make of these men and women heroes. Rather it is to show that through these ordinary men and women we see how even in the darkest of times there are glimpses of hope. And their unconditional love of God, their country and their people shows us how “only love can end the alienating spiral of evil”.

Between 1991 and 2002, Algeria was thrust into a civil war between the Algerian government and Islamic rebel groups. During the years in which the brutality of the rebels reached new heights, 19 men and women had to pay the ultimate price for their Christian faith and unwillingness to leave their land.