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History

Modern Martyrs

Above the Abbey's Great West Door stand ten statues to modern martyrs - Christians who gave up their lives for their beliefs.

The martyrs are drawn from every continent and many Christian denominations and represent all who have been oppressed or persecuted for their faith. Among them are victims of Nazism, communism and religious prejudice in the 20th century. They include civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr and St Oscar Romero, Archbishop in El Salvador, both of whom were assassinated; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, killed by the Nazis in 1945; and Wang Zhiming, a pastor killed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

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Statues of the Modern Martyrs

The statues, carved from limestone, occupy ten niches over the West Door which had been empty since the Middle-Ages. They were unveiled in 1998 at a service attended by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

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The statues above the Great West Door


The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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