Romania celebrated a national day to commemorate Christian martyrs and victims of violence on Monday, 16 August.

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis had ratified the law proclaiming 16 August as “National Day of Remembrance of the Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians” on 16 July 2020.

The date was selected to coincide with the Romanian Church’s commemoration of the feast of the  Brâncoveanu martyrs. Constantin Brâncoveanu, Prince of Wallachia, was captured and tortured by the Ottomans in 1714. Along with his four sons, he was martyred when he refused to renounce his faith in Christ on 16 August that year.

Romanian churches and landmark buildings illuminated in red on the evening of 16 August for the National Day of Remembrance of the Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians [Image credit:]

This National Day seeks to present the importance of Christianity in Romania’s history and the continued widespread persecution of Christians around the world to the general public, especially young people.

On 16 August, buildings in Bucharest and throughout Romania were illuminated in red to show the nation’s concern for violence and persecution against Christians.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2018 revealed Romania to be the most religious nation in Europe, based on four factors: the importance people ascribe to religion in their lives, regular attendance of religious services, frequency of personal prayer, and certainty of belief in God.

Christians are harassed in more countries than the followers of any other religion (145 according to a 2020 study, also by the Pew Research Center).

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This Article originally appeared on Barnabas Fund