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.
    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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora