Christian Resistance in Ecumenical Perspective

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In 2002, the ancient Basilica of San Bartolomeo in Rome was designated a memorial for 20th century martyrs. Pope John Paul II had previously spoken of an “ecumenism of martyrs”.

The retable visualizes this intention by uniting martyrs for Christ from a wide variety of the century’s contexts of resistance and every denomination and continent in a single icon rich in themes and imagery. In its center, Paul Schneider is preaching from a window at a concentration camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is standing in the lower right-hand corner.

Friedrich Weissler and other Protestants who died resisting National Socialism are also depicted together with many other murdered Christians. Documents and personal attributes of Catholic and Protestant opponents of National Socialism are on display in a separately themed chapel.

Catholics always also associate the veneration of martyrs with a pious interest in their relics. They are actually venerated for having died for Christ’s sake, not for their deeds of resistance themselves.

Source / title

  • Congregation of Sant’Egidio, Rome; © Photo: Robin Rueth, public domain.

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