Vatican to Declare Syrian Bishop Killed in 1915 A Martyr

Bishop Flavianos Michael Melke (1858-1915)

Bishop Flavianos Michael Melke (1858-1915)

ROME (—Pope Francis is set to declare Flavianos Michael Melke, the first Catholic bishop of Syria, who was killed in Turkey in 1915, a martyr of the Catholic Church, according to Il Messaggero daily of Italy.

The bishop will be declared a martyr on Saturday, August 29, 2015. A mass will be held in Lebanon, which will reportedly bring together numerous patriarchs of Eastern churches in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

Flavianos Michael Melke was killed on August 29, 1915, in the town of Cizre in the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, because of his Christian faith. He was arrested by Ottoman authorities on August 28, 1915, alongside Chaldean Bishop Philippe-Jacques Abraham.

According to Muslim eyewitnesses, Melke and Abraham were given the choice to convert to Islam or be killed. Upon their refusal to convert, Abraham was shot dead immediately, while Melke was beaten and later beheaded.


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