Friday, September 2, 2016

The New Guinea Martyrs - the ecumenical picture

The Martyrs - Mural at the Cathedral of SS Peter & Paul, Dogura, PNG

Anglicans in Papua New Guinea, Australia, and other parts of the world, keep today as the Feast of the New Guinea Martyrs. Go HERE for information about the martyrsGo directly to Bishop Strong's sermon. (Under the sermon at this link is the text of the famous radio broadcast he made to his mission staff on 31st January, 1942.) Go directly to the sermon preached by Canon Maynard, Vicar of St Peter's Eastern Hill in Melbourne in 1942.

Back in 1993, the Melanesian Journal of Theology published an article written by Fr Theo Aerts, a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium who devoted most of his life to the people of Papua New Guinea. His article, extremely generous in its ecumenical tone, is a scholarly survey of the numbers of martyrs in PNG, from across the Christian traditions. It is compelling reading. 

He concludes:"We would, with some hesitation, propose that there were at least 333 people, whose names have been recorded. However, allowing for the comments made, above, there is solid evidence to put the total still higher. Naturally, they were not only Melanesians, although, among them, there were at least 84 persons who would nowadays qualify as PNG citizens. And then, we do not count, yet, the 32 “nationals”, who were still in training, and the 40 other war casualties, mentioned above . . ."

A pdf of the entire article can be downloaded HERE


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