Pope: 'Our Martyrs Today...Are More Numerous Than in the First Centuries'

By CNSNews.com Staff | April 6, 2015 | 10:38am EDT

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(CNSNews.com) - Pope Francis said on Monday that Christian martyrs are more numerous today than they were in the first centuries of the church.

He made the statement while speaking to a group, the Shalom Community, that had run a relay through Rome, as reported by Vatican Radio, to show solidarity with Christians who are being persecuted.

"Your itinerary on the streets is over," the pope said to the group, "but what must continue on the part of all is the spiritual journey of prayer, intense prayer; the concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, for the only reason of being a Christian."

"They are our martyrs today and they are many," said the pope, "we are able to say that they are more than in the first centuries."

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