A young monk, a simple baker, and a pure maiden — each bravely confessing to the death their Orthodox Christian Faith in Jesus Christ — are soon to be formally recognized as saints and martyrs by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
These three — Gregory of Peć, Vasilije of Peć, and Bosiljka Rajičić, who lived during the 17th-18th centuries — are among the "great cloud of witnesses," the thousands of holy neo-martyrs killed by the Muslim Turks during the Ottoman occupation. You can learn about many of them in the landmark book, Witnesses for Christ, Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period, 1437-1860
, by Nomikos Michael Vaporis.
The plight of the Holy Neomartyrs under the Ottoman yoke is part of the historical continuity of Muslim persecution of Christians across the centuries from Muhammad's time until now, wherever Islam has conquered. We see the exact same phenomenon in our own day in such geographically far flung nations as Egypt and Indonesia, Nigeria and Malaysia, Pakistan and Sudan, etc. Different languages, different geographies, different politics, yet all these countries are among the worst persecutors of Christians in the world
, and they are all Muslim majority countries. In fact, about 80% of the 50 worst countries for persecution of Christians are Muslim.
We are now well into the 21st century and this new era of Christian martyrs under the sword of Islam. Those still in denial about the true nature of Islam may be helped to see clearly by the witness of the Holy Neo-Martyrs under the Muslim Turks, and by the witness of todays New Martyrs, all of whom were killed for refusing to deny Jesus Christ and convert to Islam.
Two of these accounts also tell of Christian maidens being kidnapped by Muslims, who then tried to force the girls to covert to Islam and marry their captors, a practice sanctioned by Muhammad and the Koran , and prevalent today in Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, and other Muslim countries.
Serbian Church canonizes Three Martyrs
(Belgrade) At its latest session, from April 28 to May 10, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church resolved to canonize three holy martyrs among the saints, reports The Union of Orthodox Journalists
The official canonization of Sts. Gregory of Peć, Vasilije of Peć, and Bosiljka Rajičić and those who suffered with them will soon be held.
St. Gregory of Peć (17th-18th C.) was a young monk of the monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć. He was martyred after refusing to convert to Islam. Miracles began to take place at the place where he was secretly buried by faithful Christians and a small church was later built on the site. Atheist authorities demolished the church and built an institute in the mid-20th century, although the martyr’s incorrupt relics were discovered during the demolishing of the church. His memory will be celebrated on January 22/February 7.