Trevi Fountain in Rome to be dyed red in memory of Christian martyrs
The Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular and renowned tourist sites in Rome, will be dyed red on 29 April at 8 pm for the first time ever to remember the blood of so many Christian martyrs that today, even more than in the first centuries, are being killed because of their faith. Aid to the Church in Need is organising this event to “call attention to the drama of anti-Christian persecution.”
Through this unprecedented initiative ACS intends to draw attention to the tragedy of anti-Christian persecution. “The systematic violation of the right to religious freedom, especially to the detriment of Christians – explains the president and the director of ACS Italy, Alfredo Mantovano and Alessandro Monteduro – must become a central issue in the public debate, in order to avoid the risk of indifference and consequent continuation of intolerable agony. ” Pope Francis has spoken frequently during his papacy on modern-day martyrs whom he called “the lifeblood of the Church.”
“It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death,” he said.
The event will be opened by the President of the International Aid to the Church in Need, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.Among the speakers at this event who will relate stories and witnesses of Christian martyrdom will be Antoine Audo, the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo in Syria.
Various other associations will also be taking part in this initiative : Catholic Alliance, Association of Catholic School Parents, Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy, Association pro Terra Sancta, Catholic Action, Caritas Italy, Communion and Liberation, the Sant’Egidio Community, CIDSE , Oasis Foundation, Christian Workers Movement, the Focolare Movement, the Movement for Life, Regnum Christi, Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Christian Union of Business Executives and UNITALSI.
“We invite all those who wish to be present “ said Alfrdo Mantovano “so many of our persecuted and forgotten brothers will thank you, because your presence will represent them, giving them full visibility in the public arena. “
“Against the backdrop of the magnificent Roman Fountain coloured red, hopefully you can sing the prelude to a lasting and concrete solution at each location, so that the persecuted of the twenty-first century can return as soon as possible to the full enjoyment of their natural right to religious freedom” added Alessandro Monteduro.
Iraq and Syria are two of the countries where there is a severe persecution of Christians, with the Islamic State killing, enslaving and driving people out of their homes. Christians in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in west Afrtica are also at risk from attacks by the militant group Boko Haram, while Christianity is illegal in countries including North Korea and Somalia.