Armagh: The ‘Week of Witness’ began with an appeal to Irish believers to express solidarity with their Christian brothers and sisters who have been persecuted for their faith worldwide and to witness the heroic faith of those who have been persecuted. Bishop Michael Router, assistant bishop of the Diocese of Armagh, initiated the ‘Holy Week’ on Sunday, November 24, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. The annual observance of the week is November 25 to December 1.
In Ireland, Bishop Router, in a speech in the Holy Eucharist, said that even in Ireland, the spread of Christian ideas is mocking, insulting and attacking. So we are called to witness every day. We are called to stand for what we know and believe to be true and to be martyred. Bishop also mentioned some of the religious persecution and martyrdom Christians have suffered since 2017.
During this period, 4305 Christians were killed for the faith, 1847 churches and associated places were attacked, and 3150 Christians were imprisoned without trial. He also noted that eighty percent of the worldwide atrocities were committed against Christians. The martyrs shed blood and the pain of the oppressed, even in the dark. The Bishop concluded his speech by encouraging believers to submit their lives, soul and future to God.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic NGO, has initiated the idea of ‘Witness Week’. There will be a series of lectures and exhibitions this week on the ‘persecution of Christians’. The Red Venezuela prayer vigil will be held tomorrow with the help of the diocese and parishes in Ireland. Archbishop Eamon Martin will lead the rituals at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.