Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

3/22/11 Vietnam (AsiaNews) – A group of volunteers in the diocese of Hung Hoa organised a two-day memorial prayer meeting that coincided with the feast day of Saint Joseph. The faithful prayed and reflected upon the example set by the Vietnamese martyrs of Sơn Tây City.

Sơn Tây City, in the diocese of Hưng Hóa, is about 42 kilometres from Hanoi. It is known as “địa linh, nhân kiệt” in Vietnamese, a holy land of outstanding people. It boasts 130 historic monuments, religious relics and a remarkable old town (pictured).

Between 1837 and 1860 in Gò Sỏi and Năm mẫu Sơn Tây, about 30 Catholics were killed there because of their faith on the king’s orders.

The stone post where the martyrs were beheaded could still be found on a five-hectare piece of land until 2004.  It was called Cột đá tại khu Năm mẫu, or the ‘Place of the Stone Post’.

It was destroyed as part of a tourism-oriented development plan launched by local authorities in 1987 after the government adopted an open door policy to encourage capitalist economic development under socialist control.

For Catholics, it was a hallow place, but the Bishops’ Conference and Bishop Vũ Hoang Chương had to accept in silence the decision to move the stone post to another, unworthy location.

“Every time we visited the site, we prayed for the martyrs,” some of the faithful said. “The stone post was there for almost 200 years and the site illustrated how the Vietnamese martyrs died for their faith.”

“We were saddened [by its removal] but not upset. The faithful wanted to keep the stone post close to them, but the bishop, unexpectedly, remained silent” when it was taken away. “We did not understand why” because in Vietnamese “silence” suggests agreement.

See full story