Within just seven years, #RedWednesday’s call to shine a light on persecuted Christians has spread to more than 17 countries worldwide – from Mexico to Slovakia and from Scotland to Australia.
Hosted annually by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), last week’s initiative saw more than 600 buildings around the world lit red amid renewed calls to government and civil society to act to stop the persecution and oppression of Christians.
According to provisional ACN statistics, around the world 10,000 people attended events organised by the charity between 16th and 23rd November.
Among the buildings to go red in the UK was the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Whitehall, London.
At a #RedWednesday event at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London, Bishop Jude Arogundade of Ondo, Nigeria gave testimony about persecution.
There were presentations of ACN’s Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22 given both at the cathedral and at a virtual Scottish event.
#RedWeek is now marked in countries without an ACN national office – Croatia, the Czech Republic and Peru – and in Guatemala, the Central Bank was lit red.
In Rome, Pope Francis thanked a group of pilgrims after the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland went red.
In Germany, 170 cathedrals and churches were illuminated red, 145 in Austria and 141 in the Netherlands.
Also lit red were the statue of Christ the King, overlooking Lisbon, Portugal, the Shrine of Teplzingo, Morelos, Mexico and Bratislava Castle, Slovakia.
Australia had its first Night of Witness in Canberra, with first-hand accounts of persecution.
One student described it as “one of the most impactful events I have attended. The atmosphere was a type of reverence I had never experienced, and the guest speakers spoke with conviction and sincerity as they described the unwavering faith of the martyrs.”
#RedWeek can be traced back to Brazil in 2015, when the national ACN office had the Christ the Redeemer monument lit in red in recognition of the persecution of Christians in Iraq. In April 2016 ACN Italy illuminated Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
ACN (UK) took the idea further and created #RedWednesday to commemorate persecuted Christians on a specific Wednesday in November, and this was later expanded to a whole week in many countries.
• Order your copy of Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22 and/or sign the ACN (UK) #RedWednesday petition calling on the UK Government to demand the Nigerian authorities bring to justice those responsible for attacks on Christians and others here.