Crucifixion and Resurrection: the Melanesian martyrs

March 31st, 2013

A fragile truce between the warring factions was signed in 2000 but one warlord continued to wage a terror campaign, prompting first one brother, then six others, to set out on a peace mission – a journey from which they never returned. “ It was like a crucifixion, it was like everyone is looking to you and your community to be the hope of the nation and then seven of them die……” Rev. Richard Carter worked for 15 years as chaplain to the Melanesian brothers and was charged with the task of telling the families about the brutal deaths of the seven men. During a recent visit to the Rome Basilica of St Bartholomew on the Tiber Island, where the brothers’ relics are displayed, he talked with Philippa Hitchen about the history of the community and the impact these martyrs for peace had on the lives of people far beyond that remote Pacific region.