General Synod to debate motion involving persecution of Christians

Archbishop Eamon Martin to unveil shrine to his martyred predecessor as archbishop of Armagh, St Oliver Plunkett

A motion calling on the Church of Ireland to write to the Department of Foreign Affairs asking it to place on a par with all other human rights issues the persecution of Christians will be debated at its General Synod in Derry next week.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin is to unveil a shrine to his martyred predecessor as Archbishop of Armagh, St Oliver Plunkett, at St Patrick's Cathedral there next July.

In June 1681 Archbishop Plunkett was found guilty of high treason at a trial in London "for promoting the Roman faith" and condemned to death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on July 11th, 1681, the last Catholic martyr to die in England. Beatified in 1920, he was canonised in 1975, the first new Irish saint for almost 700 years.

Archbishop Martin said the shrine to St Oliver Plunkett “will honour all the martyrs of yesterday, today and tomorrow, recognising that persecution and martyrdom of Christians does not belong to the past – it is sadly a present day reality for many of our brothers and sisters, and this situation is likely to continue or even get worse into the future.”