Rome's Colosseum to be lit in blood red for persecuted Christians

Rome's ancient Colosseum is to be lit in red later this month to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

The initiative is from Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need and repeats a similar project last year.

PixabayThe Colosseum, one of ancient Rome's most recognisable buildings.

The St Elijah Maronite Cathedral in Aleppo, Syria will be lit, and the Church of St Paul in Mosul.

The Colosseum represents the Roman persecution of Christians, some of whom died there. Of today's victims, Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN, told journalists yesterday the 'illumination will have two symbolic figures: Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian condemned to death for blasphemy and whose umpteenth judgment is expected to revoke the sentence; and Rebecca, a girl kidnapped by Boko Haram along with her two children when she was pregnant with a third'.

'One of the children was killed,' he said, 'she lost the baby she was carrying, and then became pregnant after one of the many brutalities she was subjected to by her captors.'

Monteduro continued: 'Once she was freed and reunited with her husband, she decided she "could not hate those who caused her so much pain".'

The red light initiative – on Saturday, February 24, at 6 pm – follows an ACN report last October showing the persecution of Christians is getting worse.

It said Christianity is 'the world's most oppressed faith community' and anti-Christian persecution in the worst regions has reached a 'new peak'.

Iraq has seen a massive exodus of Christians from their ancient homelands and in Syria the Christian population has more than halved.