Trappists want to restore Algerian martyrs' monastery

Trappist monks want to re-open a monastery in the Algerian Atlas mountains where seven fellow French monks were killed by Muslim terrorists in 1996.

Zenit reports that four monks from Algeria, France, Spain and Poland had visited Algiers in 1998 to learn Arabic and French in an earlier effort to re-open the monastery that was discouraged by the Algerian government for security reasons.

Now Lyons Cardinal Philippe Barbarin says that the monks again want to return to the Monastery of Our Lady of Atlas, about 100 kilometres south of Algiers.

Speaking after returning from an inter-religious pilgrimage to Algeria with Azzedine Gaci, the president of the Rhone-Alps Muslim Council, Cardinal Barbarin requested prayers for the Trappists.

The pilgrimage included a stop at the now abandoned monastery where both men led prayers and called for dialogue.

Algeria is a Sunni Muslim state where Christians and Jews account for only 1 per cent of the country's 32 million people.

There are about 23,250 Catholics in Algeria, 136 priests and 210 women religious.

Monks Intend to Restore Monastery (Zenit, 6/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Faith, Terror and Martyrdom in Algeria (Godspy)
The Witness of the Tibhirine Martyrs
List of Martyr Monks | Letter of the Abbot General on the meaning of the Atlas events (May 27, 1996)
Memorial of the Brothers of Tibhirine (Monastery of Esmeraldas - Equatory) Icon (Photo)
Philippe Xavier Ignace Cardinal Barbarin (Catholic-Hierarchy)

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7 Mar 2007