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The Vatican grants approval for the beatification of 35 Kandhamal martyrs in India

The Vatican's approval of the beatification process for 35 martyrs who died in Kandhamal, eastern India, in 2008 during anti-Christian violence, received praise from the Indian Church.

A message from Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli to Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said, "The Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints has granted “no objection” to initiating the process of beatification for the Servant of God Kanteeswar Digal and companions, “martyrs of Kandhamal.”

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, which met in Bengaluru between January 24 and 30, 2023, approved Archbishop Barwa's proposal and recommended it to the Holy See.

Kanteshwar Digal and his companions have been granted the Nihil Obstat after careful consideration and prayerful discernment. This means the cause of their beatification is not opposed.

The Vatican Dicastery for the Cause of Saints granted Kanteshwar Digal and his companions the Nihil Obstat, which affirms that there are no doctrinal or moral obstacles to examining their lives, virtues, and sanctity.

People connected to the Kandhamal martyrs have been delighted with the news for 15 years.

Father Ajay Kumar Singh, a social activist who has been fighting for justice for the Kandhamal survivors, told Matters India, “It is indeed a great tribute to the simple villagers who followed Jesus on Calvary."

The Kandhamal martyrs “could have succumbed to the temptations of denying faith and Jesus, as most of the attackers gave them the options of death or conversion to Hinduism. It is testimony to their faith and belief that priorities over comfort, family, and the world," Father Singh said.

In a letter to the Vatican, Rajendra Digal, the son of the Servant of God, thanked the church for approving the process of the sainthood of his father and others.

Digal said, “It is a proud moment for me that my father died for faith in Christ. He is the true witness to the whole world of firm faith in God.”

In 2008, violence erupted against Christians in Kandhamal, Odisha.

The number of people killed exceeds 100, and at least 64,000 people have been displaced.

There were more than 300 churches destroyed, 6,000 Christian houses destroyed, and 56,000 people were homeless in the area.

Following is the list of 35 martyrs: 24 men and 11 women.

1. Father Bernard Digal
2. Juboraj Digal
3. Sibino Pradhan
4. Raghapati Digal
5. Kantheswar digal
6. Bikram Nayak
7. Rajesh Digal
8. Trinath Digal
9. Parikhita Nayak
10. Suchitra Digal
11. Lensa Digal
12. Subedana Nayak
13. Mayagini digal
14. Jhunima Parichha
15. Bastina Montry
16. Priya Darshoni Nayak
17. Dustina Parichha
18. Sirel Parichha
19. Bhumika digal
20. Tepan Nayak
21. Badani Digal
22. Digamber Digal
23. Lalita Digal
24. Augustine Digal
25. Tileswar Paltasingh
26. Kundan Montry
27. Hemant Digal
28. Bibhisana Digal
29. Reboti Parichha
30. Melanio Digal
31. Krushna Nayak
32. Jamadei Pradhan
33. Baliarsingh Digal
34. Gonda Digal
35. Mary Pani


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