Saint of the Day – 11 June -Blessed Ignazio Shoukrallah Maloyan ICPB (1869-1915) Bishop and Martyr – born as Shoukrallah Maloyan on 18 April 1869 at Mardin, Turkey and died by being shot to death on 11 June 1915 by Mamdooh Bek at Zerzevan Castle, Çinar, Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Ignazio Maloyan (Shoukrallah), son of Melkon and Faridé, was born in 1869, in Mardin, Turkey. His parish priest, noticed in him signs of a priestly vocation, so he sent him to the convent of Bzommar-Lebanon; he was fourteen years old.
After finishing his superior studies in 1896, the day dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was Ordained Priest in the Church of Bzommar convent, became a member of the Bzommar Institute and adopted the name of Ignatius in remembrance of the famous Martyr of Antioch. During the years 1897-1910, Father Ignazio was appointed as Parish Priest in Alexandria and Cairo, where his good reputation was wide-spread.
His Beatitude Patriarch Boghos Bedros XII appointed him as his assistant in 1904. Because of a disease that hit his eyes and suffocating difficulty in breathing, he returned to Egypt and stayed there till 1910.
The Diocese of Mardin was in a state of anarchy, so Patriarch Sabbaghian sent Father Ignazio Maloyan to restore order.
On 22 October 1911, the Bishops’ Synod assembled in Rome elected Father Ignazio Archbishop of Mardin. He took over his new assignment and planned on renewing the wrecked Diocese, encouraging especially the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Unfortunately, at the outbreak of the First World War, the Armenians resident in Turkey (which was allied with Germany) began to endure unspeakable sufferings. In fact, 24 April 1915 marked the beginning of a veritable campaign of extermination. On 30 April 1915, the Turkish soldiers surrounded the Armenian Catholic Bishopric and church in Mardin on the basis that they were hide-outs for arms.
At the beginning of May, the Bishop gathered his priests and informed them of the dangerous situation. On 3 June 1915, Turkish soldiers dragged Bishop Maloyan in chains to court with twenty seven other Armenian Catholic personalities. The next day, twenty five Priests and eight hundred and sixty two believers were held in chains. During trial, the chief of the police, Mamdooh Bek, asked the Bishop to convert to Islam. The Bishop answered that he would never betray Christ and His Church. The good shepherd told him that he was ready to suffer all kinds of ill-treatments and even death and in this, will be his happiness.
Mamdooh Bek hit him on the head with the rear of his pistol and ordered to put him in jail. The soldiers chained his feet and hands, threw him on the ground and hit him mercilessly. With each blow, the Bishop was heard saying “Oh Lord, have mercy on me, oh Lord, give me strength,” and asked the Priests present for absolution. With that, the soldiers went back to hitting him and they extracted his toe nails.
On 9 June, his mother visited him and cried for his state. But the valiant Bishop encouraged her. On the next day, the soldiers gathered four hundred and forty seven Armenians. The soldiers along with the convoys took the desert route.
The Bishop encouraged his parishioners to remain firm in their faith. Then all knelt with him. He prayed to God that they accept Martyrdom with patience and courage. The Priests granted the believers absolution. The Bishop took out a piece of bread, blessed it, recited the words of the Eucharist and gave it to his Priests to distribute among the people.
One of the soldiers, an eye witness, recounted this scene: “That hour, I saw a cloud covering the prisoners and from all, emitted a perfumed scent. There was a look of joy and serenity on their faces.” As they were all going to die out of love for Jesus. After a two-hour walk, hungry, naked and chained, the soldiers attacked the prisoners and killed them before the Bishop’s eyes. After the massacre of the two convoys came the turn of Bishop Maloyan.
Mamdooh Bek then asked Maloyan again to convert to Islam. The soldier of Christ answered: “I’ve told you I shall live and die for the sake of my faith and religion. I take pride in the Cross of my God and Lord.” Mamdooh got very angry, he drew his pistol and shot Maloyan. Before he breathed his last breath he cried out loud: “My God, have mercy on me, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Bl Ignazio was 46 years old. … Vatican.va
Ignazio was Beatified on 7 October 2001 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, by St Pope John Paul II, when he said:
“Archbishop Ignatius Maloyan, who died a Martyr when he was 46, reminds us of every Christian’s spiritual combat, whose faith is exposed to the attacks of evil. It is in the Eucharist that he drew, day by day, the force necessary to accomplish his Priestly ministry with generosity and passion, dedicating himself to preaching, to a pastoral life connected with the celebration of the sacraments and to the service of the neediest.
Throughout his existence, he fully lived the words of St Paul: “God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of courage, of love and self control” (II Tim 1,14. 7). Before the dangers of persecution, Bl Ignatius did not accept any compromise, declaring to those who were putting pressure on him, “It does not please God that I should deny Jesus my Saviour. To shed my blood for my faith is the strongest desire of my heart.” May his example enlighten all those who today wish to be witnesses of the Gospel, for the glory of God and for the salvation of their neighbour.”