Aleteia provides an overview of some recent 21st-century martyrs.
The blood of martyrs continues to be the seed of new Christians at the beginning of 2018. This is the conclusion we can draw from reviewing the testimonies of men and women who, in various countries around the world, have shed their blood for their faith in Jesus.
Below, we offer a list of present-day witnesses to the Gospel who have been faithful to the very end.
The list is necessarily incomplete. If you know other cases of Christians of any denomination who have been killed for their faith in Christ, please mention their names in the comments below this article, offering sources that will allow us to document the circumstances of their death.
1. Pakistan: Brutally killed at 15 years of age because he was a Christian
His name was Sharoon Masih, and he was only 15 years old. For a while, he had been asking his family and his teachers about the possibility of changing schools in his town of Burewala (near Multan), in the south of Punjab, because his classmates had submitted him to all kinds of threats and bullying for one reason: he was Christian.
On August 30, 2017, the situation degenerated. On this occasion, other children from his class forcefully trapped him and took him apart from the rest to beat him.
“Either you convert to Islam, or we kill you,” they said. The boy, who had been threatened this way in the past, answered as he had on other occasions. This time, however, his lips were already shaping the word “no,” in response to the pain of the blows that began to fall upon him from his furious classmates.
Influenced by the fanaticism that dominates certain Islamic environments in Pakistan, the punches and kicks became more intense and frequent. The students’ rage fed upon itself.
Shortly afterwards, the boy lay lifeless on the ground. The school staff took him to the hospital in Burewala, where doctors could do nothing but confirm the savage murder.
The chronicle of his death was published by the Holy See’s missionary news agency, Fides.org .
Mushtaq Gill, a Christian lawyer handling the case, explains that Masih’s death is a terrible example of Christian persecution in that country: “Violence begins at the desks in the schools, because even primary school textbooks incite hate against non-Muslims.”
James Paul, a Pakistani Christian professor, president of the “Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association” (PMTA), confirms that this murder is a clear symptom of the persecution of Christians in his country.
The situation of Christians in Pakistan—including both Catholics and Protestants—is dramatic: on June 2, 2017, Christian worker Irfan Masih, who had fainted while working in a sewer in Umerkot, in Lahore, died after a hospital medic refused to touch his dirty body in the middle of Ramadan, according to a report by Fides.org.
In that same country, Asia Bibi has just spent her ninth Christmas behind the bars of a prison in Multan, falsely accused of having blasphemed. In reality, she had simply mentioned the name of Jesus while among her neighbors, while washing clothes. Unfortunately, her case isn’t unusual. Other Christians have spent Christmas in prison, victims of the law against blasphemy.