Armenian Martyr Archbishop Ignatius Maloyan

Reading through the tenth anniversary issue of the Knights of Columbus’ Colombia magazine I came to a short, boxed article on Blessed Archbishop Ignatius Maloyan. He was one of the Armenian martyrs, victim of the Turkish genocide.

Shoukr Allah Maloyan was born in Mardin Turkey in 1869. As a priest he took the name Ignatius. For ten years he served as a parish priest in Egypt. He was then called back to Turkey and consecrated archbishop of Mardin. The archbishop continued his parochial services to the poor, as he did as a parish priest. In particular he preached devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

On June 3, 1915, with the beginning of World War I, the Christians in Turkey were arrested and falsely accused of being “internal enemies.” The archbishop and 800 others from his diocese were dragged to court in chains. During the trial the chief of police asked him to convert to Islam. He refused.

On June 10, he and 450 others were marched into the desert. Having only a loaf of bread, he consecrated the species and gave Holy Communion to his fellow prisoners. The good shepherd had to watch as all the prisoners were massacred. Again, he was asked to renounce Christ. He answered, “I’ve told you I shall live and die for my faith.” He was then shot to death. Pope John Paul II beatified Archbishop Maloyan in 2001.