Modern Solomon Island Martyrs honoured in Rome

A book about  7 modern Melanesian martyrs and the legacy of reconciliation they left behind in the  Pacific islands, by Monica Attias, a member of Rome’s Catholic St Egidio community, was launched last Friday. As part of the Commission on new Christian martyrs, set up by Pope John Paul II, Monica has been studying the ecumenical impact of such contemporary witnesses to the faith.

She spoke with Philippa Hitchen about the work of the brothers and the memory of their martyrdom contained in the Basilica of St Bartholomew on Rome’s Tiber Island.


The book launch took place in the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola in Rome. The Basilica was dedicated in 2000 by Pope John Paul II to the new martyrs of the 20th and 21stcenturies. The moving memorial, managed by the Sant’Egidio Community, is significant because it is ecumenical.

The martyrs are not all Catholic. “Racconti di Pace in Oceania” (“Tales of Peace in Oceania”) is about seven men who came from the global Anglican communion.

These were the Seven Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood, a community of religious men who serve Melanesians of all ethnicities, tribes and backgrounds in the Solomon Islands.

They had success when others – the international community, local authorities, even local churches – despaired or looked the other way. And the shock of their sacrifice forced the train of events that pulled the Solomon Islands back from the abyss.



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News category: Asia Pacific, Top Story.

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