AN ANCIENT Roman monument dedicated to the early martyrs was the scene for a musical about martyrdom in the 20th century — written by the president of a charity for persecuted Christians.
The musical, Pelican — into thy Hands, which tells the story of some of the martyrs of the 20th century, was performed in Rome's Pantheon on December 3.
Originally a pagan ternpie, the Pantheon became a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs by Pope Boniface IV on November 1 609. The musical was originally written by Fr Joaquin Alliende, president of Aid to the Church in Need, the charity for persecuted and oppressed Christians, for the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.
This performance of the musical, dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI, coincided with the meeting of ACN's General Council in Rome from December 2 to 3 in the Vatican.
The musical tells the stories of martyrs from around the world who died for their faith during the 20th cen
tury. These include African seminarians butchered in 1997 and the young German priest Karl Leisner, who celebrated his first and last Mass in Dachau concentration camp.
It also commemorates Christian martyrs of other denominations, such as the Russian Orthodox priest Aleksandr Men, who was murdered in 1990, and the Protestant minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged in 1945 for his opposition to the Nazis.
For more information, contact www.acnuk.org.