Abbey to light up red for 25th anniversary of Modern Martyrs  

Thursday, 6th July 2023

Abbey to light up red for 25th anniversary of Modern Martyrs  

The Abbey’s west front will be floodlit in blood red as the sun goes down on the evening of Saturday 8th July to mark the eve of the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the modern martyrs.

The ten statues stand above the Abbey's Great West Door and commemorate 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, religious and racial prejudice in the 20th century. They are:
  • St Maximilian Kolbe from Poland
  • Manche Masemola from South Africa
  • Janani Luwum from Uganda
  • Grand Duchess Elizabeth from Russia
  • Dr Martin Luther King Jr, from the USA
  • St Oscar Romero, from El Salvador
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Germany
  • Esther John from Pakistan
  • Lucian Tapiedi from Papua New Guinea
  • Wang Zhiming, from China

Find out more about the Modern Martyrs

Anniversary Evensong

At Evensong at 5.00 pm on Saturday 8th July, the Choir of Westminster Abbey will sing an anthem with music composed by James MacMillan set to words from Óscar Romero and  Psalm 31. It was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster for Evensong commemorating the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero on Saturday 23rd September 2017.
All are welcome and no booking is required.  

Sermons about the martyrs 

A series of sermons about the martyrs will take place this autumn. 'The Noble Army of Martyrs’ sermons will focus on the lives of each of the individuals depicted above the Great West Door, their ongoing resonance, and legacy for the Church. 
These sermons will be preached during Choral Evensong in the Abbey at 3:00pm on Sundays from September.