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Commemorating Courage - standing firm with the 13 Christians martyred every day

by Donna Birrell

In the hours between breakfast this morning and going to sleep this evening, more than 13 Christians around the world will have been killed for their faith. 

That is the sobering reality being highlighted by the organisation, Release International, which is encouraging Christians to commemorate their courage on the Day of the Christian Martyr.

The organisation is hosting a free Zoom event this evening which will include presentations from people connected with Christians martyrs around the world. 

Andrew Boyd from Release International tells Premier why Christians in the West need to stand in solidarity:

"On June 29th, the day of the Christian martyr, we remember particularly the deaths of Peter and Paul, the apostles. But of course, today, the situation is that more Christians are being killed for their faith than ever before, across the world. According to estimates, there are something like 4,700 Christians killed each year. That is an average of 13 a day. And those are the recorded figures. So it's possibly going to be higher than that."

Andrew Boyd says that while it's important for Christians living without fear to stand with those on the front lines of faith, it is also important to learn lessons from them:

"We also need to get from them their incredible, overcoming spirit, that absolute determination to live for Christ, to be witnesses for Christ and get something of that in our DNA. We need to learn from them.

"Persecution is violence and we need to alleviate it. But we must not be afraid of it. We have to learn from our amazing brothers and sisters, to absolutely make the best of our faith. These people know why they are alive. And what happens is whenever you get persecution and it has been true from the book of Acts onwards and it's true in China today. It's true in Iran today, that the harder they persecute the church, the more Christians say,' I know why I am living, and I will live my life faithfully and to the full. ' And that's what we need to catch from them. "

Speakers at tonight's event include those connected with the persecuted in Pakistan and Nigeria.

Andrew Boyd says he hopes people will be encouraged by what they hear:  

"What they need from us is to stand with them, to understand them, to empathise with them, to understand their stories and also to support them in real practical ways as they continue to be witnesses and spread the gospel in their nations. It is about practical support, as well as prayer. We're one body and we need to stand together."

Details of how to register for the event, which begins at 7.30pm, can be found here:

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