VATICAN CITY/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Pope Francis has called a Christian Syrian woman “a martyr” after hearing she was killed by Islamic militants for refusing to deny her faith in Jesus Christ. The leader of the world’s one billion Catholics told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square that he spoke with the young woman’s widow during his visit Saturday, April 16, to the Greek island of Lesbos where he also visited refugees held in an overcrowded detention center.
“He is Muslim, and he told me that he married a Christian girl,” the pope said Sunday, April 17. “They loved each other and respected each other. But unfortunately the young woman’s throat was slashed by terrorists because she didn’t want to deny Christ and abandon her faith.” He added: “She is a martyr!”
Thousands of Christians have been driven out of their homes in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State group and other Islamic militants. Many believers have been kidnapped and killed for their faith.
Francis said he wanted to bring solidarity of the church to the refugees and the Greek people. “With me were the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop Hieronymous of Athens and of all Greece, to signify the unity in charity of all the disciples of the Lord.”
The pope also thanked those “who accompanied” the voyage with their prayers and recalled how he and the two other three prelates met refugees in the Moria detention center, many from Afghanistan, Syria, North Africa and other parts of the world. “So many of them were children!” the pope said, noting how some of the children had witnessed the deaths of parents or companions during they often dangerous journey. “I saw so much sorrow,”he recalled. READ MORE