Indian archbishop: 2008 persecution strengthened faith
August 26, 2015
Seven years after a pogrom in the east Indian state of Odisha (Orissa) drove over 50,000 Christians from their homes, the local bishop said that “I am always moved by my people's joy.”
“I am always moved by my people’s joy,” said Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. “They suffered horrific anti-Christian violence. Yet their faith did not waver; on the contrary, they strengthened their faith and love for Christ.”
My people showed such serenity in the face of persecution. In front of their wives, husbands were asked, ‘Will you give up the faith?’ Courageously, they answered, ‘No. Do whatever you want!’” “Similarly, wives were told, ‘Do you see your husband facing this? If you do not give up your faith, you will face a similar fate.’ And the wives answered, ‘Never. If my husband can face this, why shouldn’t I? Do whatever you want. I’ll not give up.’” This is the gift of grace.
Every day we are called to encounter Christ in the joy of our suffering for His Name. When I went around after taking over, I visited every convent, and I met all my leaders and all my priests. And I heard one voice, "Archbishop, all our houses have been destroyed, our churches have been destroyed, our beloved ones have been massacred, but one thing the persecutors could not do: they could not separate Jesus from us."
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- For Mgr Barwa, Kandhamal Christians are witnesses of Christ, at peace in the face of persecution (AsiaNews.it)
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