Catholic Church beatifies 19 slain clerics in Algeria's Oran

The inside of a South African Catholic Church is photographed. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
The inside of a South African Catholic Church is photographed. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

The Catholic Church beatified in the city of Oran on Saturday seven French monks and 12 other clergy killed during Algeria's civil war, the first ceremony of its kind in a Muslim nation.

May "Monsignor Pierre Claverie... and his 18 companions, faithful messengers of the Gospel, humble artisans of peace... from now on be called blessed," said papal envoy Cardinal Angelo Becciu, reading the decree of beatification, the first step on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood.

The ceremony was held under tight security at the esplanade of the Chapel of our Lady of Santa Cruz overlooking the Mediterranean city.

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