Europe can’t forget the history of Martyrdom behind its history, the Pope says

On the occasion of the eighth public session of the Pontifical Academies, which took place yesterday at the Vatican, Pope John Paul sent a message to Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Coordinating Council for the Pontifical Academies, warning that Europe can loose its sense of humanity if it looses the memory of the martyrs.

In his message, the Holy Father writes that “the theme of the public session, ‘Martyrs and Monuments to their Memories, Living Stones in the Building of Europe,’ offers a singular key to understanding the historical change that we are living through in Europe”.

“It means we must discover the profound link between yesterday and today’s history, between the evangelical testimony courageously offered by so many men and women in the first centuries of the Christian era and the testimony, also in our times, that many believers in Christ continue to offer to the world to reaffirm the supremacy of Christ’s Gospel and of charity,” he explained

The pontiff then warned that “if the memory of Christians who sacrificed their life to reaffirm their faith is lost, the modern age with its projects and ideals, would lose a precious component since human and religious values would no longer be supported by concrete testimony, manifested in history.”

After emphasizing that “persecution is fortunately no longer a problem” in Europe, John Paul II says that Christians, “together with all men and women of good will, are called to build a true ‘common house,’ which is not only a political and economic edifice but also a ‘house’ rich with memories, values, spiritual contents”.

“These values have found and continue to find in the Cross an eloquent symbol that embodies and expresses them,” he added.


At the end of the Message, the Pope entrusted Cardinal Poupard with the task of bestowing this year’s prize of the Pontifical Academies upon Giuseppina Cipriano for her paper, “Mausoleums of the Exodus and Peace in the Necropolis of El-Bagawat. Reflections on the Christian origins of Egypt.”

In addition, he asks him to give the pontifical medal to Sara Tamarri for her work, “Iconography of the Lion from Late Antiquity to Medieval Times.”

The Pope congratulates the winners on their work, “which underscores the value of archeological, liturgical and historical patrimony, to which the Christian culture owes so much and from which it can still draw elements of authentic humanism.”

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