Roman Colosseum to be lit in red to protest Christian persecution

(REUTERS / Suhaib Salem)Iraqis attend the first Palm Sunday procession in the burnt out main church of the Christian city of Qaraqosh since Iraqi forces retook it from Islamic States militants, Iraq April 9, 2017.

The number of persecuted Christians has been rising in recent years.

Nearly all of the Christian world is aware of the rising trend – and many are now questioning state authorities as to why the abuses and persecution continue.

Now, the Colosseum in Rome will be used to send a global SOS to remind people, and especially head of states and the pertinent authorities, of the ongoing persecution of Christians in almost every country, including the China, Congo and North Korea.

The event, spearheaded by the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), will bathe the Colosseum in red light at 6pm on February 24. The red light represents the blood of Christians that have suffered from religious persecution, especially in two states: Iraq and Syria.

The illumination of the Roman Colosseum will have be symbolic in two ways. It will represent Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who was condemned to death for charges of blasphemy and Rebecca, a girl kidnapped by Boko Haram with her two children. Rebecca was pregnant when she was kidnapped.

In tandem with the event, prominent churches in Iraq and Syria will also be illuminated in red lights. St. Elijah Maronite Cathedral will be lit in Aleppo, the most populous governorate in Syria. In Iraq, the Church of St. Paul has been chosen as the local beacon for the global call to end Christian persecution. The Church of St. Paul is located in Mosul, a major city in Northern Iraq. A mass was held after the city of Mosul was liberated from ISIS.

The current initiative has had precedence in previous years. Just last year, London's Parliament building was bathed in red light as well as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris. A cathedral was also lit in the Philippines. Two years before, the Trevi Fountain in Rome was turned red.