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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Istanbul: Muslims offer to give blood to save life of priest
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 After a Catholic priest was stabbed by a mentally-ill man in Samsun, Turkey, on Sunday, many local Muslims went to the hospital where he was being treated to offer their blood. Fr George Marovitch, spokesman of the Turkish Bishops' Conference, told Fides that the attack on French missionary priest Fr Pierre Brunissen was an isolated incident. He said: " This was the act of a mad man which does no good to the image of Turkey. It was an isolated episode: there is no tension or violence and Christian/Muslim relations are good as usual." Fr Pierre is now out of danger, the hospital said. The priest been sent to Saint Mary's Catholic church at Trabzon to replace temporarily the Italian missionary Fr Andrea Santoro shot dead on 5 February this year. Fr George said that as soon as the news broke, local Muslims expressed solidarity with the church. He said: "Fr Pierre is loved and appreciated by all. Numerous Muslims have offered to donate their blood should it be necessary to help Fr Pierre. The episode was amplified by the media but it remains an isolated attitude not shared by the majority of the Turkish people." Fr. George recalled that Pope Benedict XVI is expected to travel to Turkey in the autumn: "There is great excitement among Christians and Muslims. Since it will be a state visit we are not sure whether it will include a meeting with Muslim religious leaders. However it is certain that the Holy Father Benedict XVI will meet the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. We hope and pray his visit may improve ecumenical and inter-religious relations in Turkey and in Europe." Source: Fides
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