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5 years after persecution, Orissa prelate emphasizes: ‘blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians’

Catholic World News - August 28, 2013

Five years after a brutal anti-Christian persecution in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, the region’s leading prelate said that “Tertullian's observation, ‘the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians,’ has become a reality in the Church of Orissa,” according to a Fides news agency report.

The state has since been officially renamed Odisha.

“During the persecutions, there was an ethnic cleansing of all Christians in 400 villages, more than 6,000 houses, 340 churches and chapels, clinics and schools were burned and destroyed,” Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar wrote in his message on the persecution’s fifth anniversary. “Thousands of believers were injured; several women and girls, including a nun, were raped; and about 60,000 men, women, and children were left homeless.”

“Five years after the persecutions, visiting the affected communities, the faithful say to the bishop: the persecutors burned our houses, property, and killed our loved ones, but they did not manage to destroy our faith and cannot separate us from the love of Jesus Christ,” the prelate added. “We are proud to be Christians and proud of our faith.”

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