Syriac bishop beheaded by Ottoman beatified in Lebanon
Now he is was officially recognized by Pope Francis as a "martyr" of the Catholic church
A Syriac Catholic bishop has been beatified in Lebanon, a century after he was beheaded in Syria by Ottoman security forces during a wave of religiously motivated killings.
Flavien Michel Melki, who was murdered for refusing to renounce Christianity, was officially recognized by Pope Francis as a "martyr" of the Catholic church earlier this month.
The beatification took place at a monastery north of Beirut on Saturday, according to an AFP photographer at the ceremony.
Turkish-born Melki's church was burned down during a massacre by Ottoman soldiers in 1895 and his mother killed.
He was made a bishop and spent two decades serving the church before being arrested in 1915 along with a Chaldean bishop.
Both were killed when they refused to convert to Islam.
His beatification came amid growing concern over jihadists targeting Christians in the Middle East, with Francis last month saying "a form of genocide was taking place".
The Syriac Catholic church, with around 160,000 members and its headquarters in Beirut, is one of several eastern Christian churches.
The community has accused Ottoman forces of carrying out massacres of its members in 1915, in conjunction with killings of other minorities including Armenians.
In April, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after the pope labelled the deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide. Turkey vehemently contests the use of the word.
Pope calls Armenian slaughter ‘first genocide of 20th century’Francis, said it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women, children, priests and bishops who were ‘senselessly’ murdered by Ottoman Turks World News
Iraqi bishop laments ‘too late’ response to ISIS threat'We want intervention, but it must be rapid and united, Europe and America together,' Bishop Shlemon Warduni says Middle East
Filipino bishops to counter ISISThe Department of Foreign Affairs has reported that at least one Filipino worker, not a militant, has died in the violence in Syria World News
No more pants in church? Egypt women reject banTens of Egyptian Coptic protesters rallied against a decision by a bishop to prohibit women from wearing trousers in church Perspective
Syria Orthodox Easter marred by bishops in captivitySyria’s Greek Orthodox faithful bore a heavy cross on Friday as they marked the crucifixion of Christ, their country ravaged by two years of war ... Art and culture
Greek Orthodox Patriarch washes the feet of bishopsGreek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III washed the feet of 12 of his clergymen in the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem’s Old ... Variety