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Archive for February 29th, 2008

It’s hard for me to imagine a faith strong enough to willingly and literally sell oneself into slavery for a Christian held captive by hostile forces. However this has in times past been a very real act of mercy which produced even a few religious orders.

Order of the Holy Trinity for the Ransom of Captives was one and required one-third of all income to be set aside for the ransom of Christian captives. One never knows the effects of ransoming either; as an example St. John the Damascene was tutored by an Italian monk named Cosmas who was ransomed by St. John’s father from the Muslims.

St Raymond of Pennafort religious order was bound by a fourth vow to remain as hostages in the pagan’s power, if necessary for freeing the Christians. Mercedarians: Spanish merced = ransom, always sent missionaries in two’s amongst the non-christians, to treat about the ransom.

St Raymund Nonnatus, was a Cardinal back in 1240 A.D. The true story of his life has little reliable data. He was sent into Algiers to obtain freedom for a number of slaves. When his funds were depleted he voluntarily gave himself up as a hostage for the ransom of others, not simply to free them, but because he feared they were losing the Christian faith. After converting numerous Muslims the local ruler condemned him to be impaled. But the greedy slave traders wanted their money more and he released him. He continued to preach and the authority had imprisoned him. He ended up converting the jailers and the ruler as tradition says literally put a padlock in his mouth to keep him from preaching.

The state of Christians in Islamic lands is cruel to say the least. While I don’t expect our current generation to rise up and ransom themselves for their fellow brothers and sisters in danger of their life and losing their faith. I thik it critical to send money to support their efforts to maintain a Christian presence and start the dangerous work of converting their Islamic neighbours.

In modern times we have the example of Pope Pius XII who provided a underground system to free many Jews during WWII. Additionally we have traffiking in human organs. The Mercedarians still exist and are working as their forefathers did to free the slaves.

Update: 3-1-08Chaldean bishop of Mosul abducted looks like we need to ransom some one now.archbishop-faraj-raho.jpg

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