Vatican and Ankara relations could escalate when Pope Francis canonizes bishop killed in 1915

Vatican and Ankara relations could escalate when Pope Francis canonizes bishop killed in 1915 +

ARMENPRESS. Pope of the Catholic Church Francis is going to canonize Mar Flavianus Michael Malke, the Syrian Catholic bishop of Gazarta who was killed in Mardin, 1915.

Armenpress reports, referring to Italian newspaper “La Stampa”, that the abovesaid would escalate the already tense relations between Vatican and Ankara.

During the Holy mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican which was served on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Pope demanded from Turkey to recognize the Genocide committed in the Ottoman Empire. After the crisis between the 2 countries, Ankara recalled its ambassador to the Vatican.

Pope Francis considers Malke a genocide victim. Malke was arrested by the Turkish authorities on August 29, 1915, and was executed for not adopting Islam.

Pope Francis declared that executing a person for his/her religious beliefs is an unacceptable crime, and asked the Canonization Commission to prepare the necessary documents for Malke’s Canonization.

According to the Italian newspaper, Malke’s Canonization will most probably take place in October.

In the summer of 1915, during the height of the Assyrian Genocide, in the rural region Tur Abdin, Malke, who was in Azakh at the time, returned to Gazarta upon hearing news of an impending massacre against the Christians there and refused to flee despite being advised so by local Muslim leaders. He was arrested by Ottoman authorities in 28 August 1915, alongside the Chaldean bishop of the city, Philippe-Jacques Abraham. According to Muslim eyewitnesses they were given choice between death or conversion to Islam the next day, upon their refusal, Jacques Abraham was immediately shot dead, Michael Malke was beaten until he became unconscious and was afterwards beheaded

Earlier in 2001 Pope John Paul canonized Armenian Catholic Archbishop Ignazio Maloyan who was killed in the Ottoman Empire.

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