Memorial Day was Held for Father Andrea Santoro, the Priest of Trabzon Santa Maria Catholic Church
On February 2, 2020, the Priest of Trabzon Santa Maria Church was commemorated with a ritual held in the same church due to the 14th anniversary of the death of Father Andrea Santoro.
A crowded congregation group attended the ritual, including the sisters of Father Santoro living in Rome, Maddalena and Imelda Santoro, a group of guest priests from the church groups attributed to Father Andrea in Rome, relatives of Father Andrea and Father Massimiliano Palinuro, actual parish priest of the Catholic Church of Trabzon.
In his sermon, the Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, Bishop Paolo Bizzeti said: “Man can be afraid of death. This fear can harm or destroy our lives. If there is fear of death, we live like slaves, we are in slavery. Our life-giving Lord Jesus Christ, on the contrary, gives us freedom. He was not afraid of being alone, He was not afraid of dying. Unfortunately, conservative religionists think that freedom is dangerous. But freedom is the gift of God. These conservative religionists are trying to cheat free people. This can happen in our country, as in every country. Unfortunately, bad people use the religion to keep people under fear. Whom do we want to obey, to the devil, or to Christ Jesus who is free and gives the forgiving freedom? For our Lord Christ in the Letter to the Hebrews it is said: ‘He freed all those who were slaves because of fear of death. Lord Jesus came to save us from fear of death.’ The desire of freedom is in the heart of all people, and we know that only our Lord Christ can win the death, as He was risen from the death to give a new life to us. When He died, he won the true freedom and real happiness for us. How can we find courage in this journey of life? Think deeply about the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Truly our Lord Christ Jesus was risen. We can no longer live under this fear of death. We need the Holy Spirit to be brave. Therefore, we must constantly pray for the existence of the Holy Spirit in our difficult and decision days, especially when we are weak, so that we can always live faithfully and consistently. Today, by praying for the intercession of the spirit of Father Andreas, we want to get an example of courage from Father Andreas Santoro. Because Father Andrea left us a testimony of perfect loyalty.”
In the commemorative ceremony, the sisters of Father Andrea Santoro, Maddalena and Imelda Santoro were accompanied by the congregation led by Sister Maria Aramburol, prayed with the congregation under the picture on the column where Father Andrea was martyred.
In addition, the parish priest of the Trabzon Santa Maria Catholic Church Rev. Massimiliano Palinuro thanked Monsignor Paolo Bizzeti and the priests and guests coming from Rome.
Photos and text: Aziz FAYDA