News / Europe

Pope Bestows Sainthood on Italians Massacred by Ottomans

The tapestries, from left, of Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya of Colombia, Antonio Primaldo and his companions, also known as the Martyrs of Otranto, and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala of Mexico hang from balconies in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 12, 2013, as Pope Francis celebrate the canonization ceremony for the three new saints.
The tapestries, from left, of Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya of Colombia, Antonio Primaldo and his companions, also known as the Martyrs of Otranto, and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala of Mexico hang from balconies in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 12, 2013, as Pope Francis celebrate the canonization ceremony for the three new saints.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Pope Francis has proclaimed his first Roman Catholic saints, including hundreds of Italians who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam in the 15th century.

In his first Sunday canonization ceremony since beginning his reign in March, Francis also named a Colombian nun as the first saint of the South American nation and granted sainthood to another nun from Mexico.

Francis' predecessor, Benedict, had approved the sainthoods in February while announcing his retirement.

The newly-canonized Italian saints known as Antonio Primaldo and his Companions were massacred in 1480, when Ottoman Turks invaded the southern Italian town of Otranto in 1480 and demanded that its Christian inhabitants convert to Islam. When the inhabitants refused, the invaders beheaded a group of about 800 men and boys, who became revered by Catholics as the Otranto Martyrs.

Benedict had offended some Muslims during his eight-year papacy with remarks seen by them as equating Islam with violence. The former pontiff said he was misunderstood. But, relations between the Vatican and Muslims have remained sensitive and it is not clear how they will respond to the canonization of the Italians killed by the Ottomans.

In an address to more than 60,000 pilgrims who attended the ceremony, Pope Francis said many Christians around the world still suffer violence due to their faith and he prayed for them to have "the courage to respond to evil with good." He did not single out any countries.

A woman holding a poster of Mother Laura Montoya watches her beatification ceremony on a giant TV screen in her hometown of Jerico, Colombia, May 12, 2013.A woman holding a poster of Mother Laura Montoya watches her beatification ceremony on a giant TV screen in her hometown of Jerico, Colombia, May 12, 2013.
x
A woman holding a poster of Mother Laura Montoya watches her beatification ceremony on a giant TV screen in her hometown of Jerico, Colombia, May 12, 2013.
A woman holding a poster of Mother Laura Montoya watches her beatification ceremony on a giant TV screen in her hometown of Jerico, Colombia, May 12, 2013.
Francis also canonized Colombian nun Laura of St. Catherine of Siena Montoya y Upegui and Mexican nun Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, both of whom founded religious orders and died in the 20th century.

Laura of St. Catherine dedicated herself to helping Colombia's indigenous people, while Guadalupe Garcia Zavala worked with the sick and poor.

The pope also used his address to speak out against abortion for the first time since his election, calling for "respect for human life from the moment of conception." He lent his support to an Italian group campaigning for promoting legal protection for embryos.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid