… so said Tertullian in the 3rd century CE. Martyrdom isn’t relegated to days long ago and places far away. As a community we remember those who, even now, witness to the faith with their very lives.
On May 16, 1983, a small number of Episcopal and Roman Catholic clerical and lay leaders declared they “would not abandon God as they knew him.” Possibly over two million persons, most of them Christians, were then killed in a two-decade civil war, until a Comprehensive Peace Treaty was signed in January 2005. During those years, four million southern Christians may have been internally displaced, and another million forced into exile in Africa and elsewhere. Yet despite the total destruction of churches, schools, and other institutions, Sudanese Christianity, which includes four million members of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, has both solidiﬁed as a faith community, and gradually expanded at home and among refugees, providing steadfast hope in often-desperate setting.
—from the blog post on Holy Women, Holy Men
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) is currently revising the “old” Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar of the Episcopal Church. The commemoration of the Martyrs of the Sudan is “new.” This work of revision (and more) of the SCLM will be discussed in the General Convention in Indianapolis, IN this summer.
The Collect for this Commemoration
O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacriﬁce brought forth a plentiful harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Image: Holy Women, Holy Men