The Vatican's "Commission on New Martyrs – Testimonies of Faith" announced on November 13 that it is investigating over 550 cases of individuals who have sacrificed their lives for Christ since 2000.
Among these potential "new martyrs" are victims of the 2019 Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, religious figures such as Luisa Dall'Orto and Maria De Coppi, who were murdered in Haiti and Mozambique, respectively, and the slain priests Andrea Santoro in Turkey and Jacques Hamel in France.
Significantly, this commission, operating under the auspices of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, will explore cases within the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations in line with what is termed the "ecumenism of blood." A notable case under this scope is the beheading of 21 Christians by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya in 2015.
The commission, established by Pope Francis on July 3, 2023, convened in Rome on November 9 to prepare for the upcoming 2025 Jubilee celebration. A recent statement from the Dicastery emphasized the inclusion of Christian victims and those who offered their lives, highlighting the efforts of the Vatican agency Fides and other agencies in this process. The commission is aware of over 550 testimonies where the circumstances of death and service to the Church and God's people are known. A dedicated website has been developed to support the commission's work and provide essential information.
The statement also underlined the significant contributions of the faithful from the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Catholic Churches. The Dicastery has equipped the commission with the necessary human and technical resources to fulfill its mission.
These new martyrs represent a beacon of hope and a humble yet powerful voice advocating for the supreme good of life, the unity of the human family, and the peaceful strength of Christians.