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(Christian Today) - Thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Christians who have fled the atrocities of Islamic State are expected to attend the beatification of a Syriac Catholic bishop later this month.
The celebration comes after Pope Francis authorised a decree declaring Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké to be a martyr. The beatification will take place in Lebanon exactly a century after Bishop Malké was killed in Turkey on 29 August 1915, victim to the Ottoman Empire's attempt to exterminate Christian minorities.
The beatification liturgy will be celebrated by Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, at the Our Lady of Deliverance convent.
Patriarch Younan said: "In these painful times experienced by Christians, especially the Syriac communities in Iraq and Syria, the news of the beatification of one of their martyrs, will surely bring encouragement and consolation to face the today's trials of appalling dimension.
"Blessed Martyr Michael, intercede for us, and protect especially the Christians in the Orient and all the world in these hard and painful days."
Bishop Malké was born in 1858 in Kalat'ül Mara, a village in what is now Turkey but was then part of the Ottoman Empire. He was martyred in Gazireh, Turkey. He originally joined a monastery of the Syrian Orthodox church but then converted to the Syriac Catholic church. Both churches use the same West Syrian rite.