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Remembering Fr. Andrea Santoro, Italian missionary martyred in Turkey


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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 07/19/18

Martyr Fr. Santoro felt called to work as a missionary in Turkey where he was killed, Bible in hand.

The video above tells the story of Fr. Andrea Santoro, a priest sent from his homeland of Italy to Turkey as part of the Fidei donum (“gift of faith”) missionary program, who died a martyr. He was the founder of the “Window for the Middle East” program, which aimed to connect the Diocese of Rome to his mission work in Turkey.

“Keep us united in our diversity,” he said, “not so united that it stifles diversity, not so diverse that it suffocates unity.”

In particular, Father Santoro had a heart for the poor and the exploited, always advocating on their behalf. He soon became a reference point for many people, and with all the attention, he also began to receive threats. In fact, three months before his murder, Father Santoro’s telephone was tapped by the Turkish police.

On February 5, 2006, while kneeling in his church in Trabzon, he was shot twice from behind by 16-year-old Oğuzhan Akdin.

May his heroic legacy of dialogue and compassion live on long after his martyrdom.

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