Seven Trappist monks, along with 11 other religious men and women and a bishop, killed by Islamic extremists in Algeria in the 1990s, will be declared martyrs sometime this month, according to the priest in charge of their sainthood cause.
Father Thomas Georgeon told the missionary Mondo e Missione (World and Mission), that the 19 Christian martyrs highlight the “sea of violence that devastated Algeria” during the period — which saw at least 44,000 people, mostly civilians, killed in the war between extremist Muslim rebels and Algerian government forces.
The Trappist monks were the subject of the film “Of Gods and Men,” which won the grand prize at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
French Father Christian-Marie de Cherge, who was the head of the monks, had predicted they would offer themselves for the people of Algeria.
“When the time comes, I would like to be able to have that stroke of lucidity which would permit me to ask forgiveness of God and of my brothers in humanity, forgiving wholeheartedly, at the same time, whoever my killer might be,” Father de Cherge wrote three years before his martyrdom.
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