This month saw the opening of the first shrine dedicated to persecuted Christians in the UK. The priest Benedict Kiely, promoter of the project, has made several statements about what will be the first sanctuary in Europe dedicated to prayer for the Christian faithful who suffer for their faith.
“It is the first shrine in Europe specifically dedicated to prayer for the active persecution of Christians around the world. And it is certainly the first shrine in Europe dedicated to Mary, Mother of persecuted Christians,” Kiely added.
The Shrine will also have an icon of Mary with the inscription Mother of the Persecuted in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, which is still spoken in parts of Syria and Iraq. The icon was written by a Lebanese Melkite nun, Sister Souraya, who has been helped to rebuild her icon studio to support the convent, especially the elderly and sick nuns.
“We are at a Lepanto-like moment in Western history,” Kiely said at the shrine’s dedication. We must pray as fervently as Christians prayed then to save Western civilization, not just from the danger of radical Islamist extremism. but radical and aggressive secular liberalism,” Father Kiely said.
One more example of the need to pray for persecuted Christians and continue giving them a voice so that they respect their rights and freedoms.