Lyon (Agenzia Fides) – At about 1.30 am on Wednesday, 27 March 1996, seven French Trappist monks were kidnapped from the convent of “Notre Dame de l’Atlas” in Tibhirine, south-eastern Algeria by a group of about 20 armed men. On Thursday, 23 May, the Moroccan Radio Station 'Meditarrenée International 1' (Medi 1) received a declaration in which the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) claimed to have “cut the throats” of the seven monks, because the authorities in Paris refused to negotiate their exchange for Muslim terrorist prisoners held in French prisons. The names of the monks are as follows: Dom Christian de Chergé, Brother Luc Dochier, Father Christophe Lebreton, Brother Michel Fleury, Father Bruno Lemarchand, Father Célestin Ringeaud, and Brother Paul Favre-Miville.
In memory of the 15th anniversary of the monks' kidnapping, the Archdiocese of Lyon has organised two events for Saturday, 26 March. At 10.15 pm, in the interior courtyard of the Vincentians' College, there will be a brief period of Muslim-Christian meditation guided by the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, by Mr Kamel Kabtane, Rector of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, and by Mr Azzedine Gaci, President of the Regional Council of Muslims in Rhône-Alpes. Then, starting at 11 pm, a night of Eucharistic Adoration will follow as a diocesan retreat dedicated to the persecuted Christians and to all those experiencing trials. The Adoration will be held at the chapel of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 21/3/2011)