Ahead of the 2025 Jubilee, Pope Francis Institutes a Commission That Will Recognize Catholic Martyrs and Those of Other Christian Confessions

This initiative does not intend to establish new criteria for the canonical assessment of martyrdom, but to continue with the initial survey of those who, to this day, continue to be killed for the mere fact of being Christians.

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.05.2023).- Ahead of the coming 2025 Ordinary Jubilee, made public on Wednesday, July 5, was the establishment of a “Commission of New Martyrs” as part of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints. In the Pope’s letter announcing the Commission, the Holy Father specifies its objective: “to elaborate a catalogue of all those who shed their blood to confess Christ and give witness of His Gospel.”

Pope Francis explained the importance of the specific Commission on the Martyrs: “Martyrs in the Church are witnesses of hope that springs from faith in Christ and incites to true charity. Hope keeps alive the profound conviction that good is stronger than evil, because God, in Christ, has overcome sin and death.”

The Pontiff ponders the historical link between this new Commission and the work undertaken by a similar Commission in the context of the Great Jubilee of the Tear 2000: “The Commission will continue the search already initiated on the occasion of The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, to identify the Witnesses of the Faith in this first quarter of the century and continue it in the future.” In fact, Pope Francis recalls the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente of Saint John Paul II, where the latter wrote: “everything possible must be done not to lose the legacy of the cloud of “unknown soldiers of the great cause of God” (37). They were remembered on May 7, 2000 in an ecumenical celebration, which gathered in the Colosseum Representatives of Churches and Ecclesial Communities from around the world, to evoke, together with the Bishop of Rome, the richness of what I later called “ecumenism of blood.” And he adds: “In the coming Jubilee [of 2025, ndt] we will also unite in a celebration of this type.”

The Supreme Pontiff also clarifies that “This initiative  does not intend to establish new criteria for the canonical assessment of martyrdom, but continue with the initial highlighting of those who up to now, continue being killed for the sole fact of being Christians,” adding “It’s about continuing the historical recognition to collect the testimonies of life to the shedding of blood, of these sisters and brothers of ours , so that their memory is erected in a treasure that the Christian community treasures. “

However, there are novelties:

“The research will refer not only to the Catholic Church, but will be extended to all the Christian Confessions, including in our time, in which we witness a change of epoch, Christians continue showing, in contexts of great risk, the vitality of the Baptism that unites us. In fact, not few are those that, despite being aware of the dangers they run, manifest their faith or take part in the Sunday Eucharist. Others die in the effort to help in charity the life of the poor, for helping the rejected by society, for valuing and promoting the gift of peace and the power of forgiveness. Others are silent, individual or collective victims of the avatars of history. We have a great debt with all of them and we cannot forget them. The Commission’s works will make it possible to place, together with the martyrs officially recognized by the Church, the documented testimonies – and there are many – of these brothers and sisters of ours, in a vast panorama in which the unique voice of martyrdom of Christians resounds.”

The Commission of New Martyrs – Witnesses of the Faith, is made up of the following individuals: 

Prefect: Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints;

President: Monsignor Fabio Fabene, Secretary of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints;

Vice-President: Professor Andrea Riccardi, Founder of Sant’Egidio Community;

Secretary: Monsignor Marco Gnavi, Parish Priest of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere and former Secretary of the “New Martyrs” Commission of the Great Jubilee of the Year 200;

The Card. Semeraro at the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints. Photo: Vatican Media


Fe. Dominique Arnauld, M. Afr;

Revd. Kikou Mawuena Ambroise Atakpa;

Sister Nadia Coppa, A,.S.C.;

Professor Gianni La Bella

Professor Maria Lupi;

Fr. Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen, O.F.M. Conv.;

Deacon Didier Rance;

Revd. Roberto Regoli;

Revd. Angelo Romano;

Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J.

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