When received by Pope Francis last month in the Vatican, the Bishops of Algeria stressed that the request to have the Bishop of Oran and 18 priests and religious, who had been murdered in Algeria between 1994 and 1996, beatified was not in any way meant to be a self-congratulatory move by the Church, nor was it meant to be a claim of “poor Christians murdered by wicked Muslims”. On the contrary, the Church in Algeria wishes by these beatifications to identify with and stand with the country and people of Algeria who suffered so much. “Martyr” is used here only in the sense of “witness”. The 19 are witnesses unto death to a desire to be with, and alongside, the 200,000 Algerian men and women who were killed in this period and would not in any way want to hurt the sensitivities of their Muslim brothers and sisters. The witness is one of solidarity.
The 19 proposed “Witness –Martyrs”
8th May 1994 - Henri Verges (Marist) and Paul-Helene Saint-Raymond (Little Sister of the Assumption) in Algiers.
23rd October 1994 – Two Augustinian Missionary Sisters
27th December 1994 – Four White Fathers - Jean Chevillard, Alain Dieulangard, Christian Chessel, Charles Deckers
3rd September 1995 – Two Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles
10th November 1995 – Sr Odette Prevost (Little Sister of the Sacred Heart (Algiers)
1st August 1996 – Pierre Claverie, Bishop of Oran.
1996 – Seven Trappists (Tibhirine)