Rome’s Colosseum, long a symbol of the persecution of early Christians, was bathed in red light late on 24th February as a reminder of and a prayer for the thousands of Christians being persecuted for their faith today.
The family of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s highly criticised anti-blasphemy laws, and Rebecca Bitrus, a Nigerian Christian who was held in captivity for two years by Boko Haram terrorists, told their stories before the red lights were shined on the Colosseum.
Bitrus and Bibi’s husband and daughter had met earlier in the day with Pope Francis at the Vatican. They were accompanied by leaders of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic foundation that has a long history of assisting persecuted Christians.
Alessandro Monteduro, director of the Italian section of Aid to the Church, said the 40-minute meeting with Pope Francis was “extraordinary,” particularly because the entire encounter took place in an atmosphere of prayer by the pope and by his guests.
Picture: The Colosseum in Rome is lit in red to draw attention to the persecution of Christians around the world. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters).