Istanbul, Apr. 20, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Three Christian murder victims were brutally tortured for hours before their death, Turkish media reports reveal.

The Islamic zealots who attacked a Christian publishing house in the city of Malatya on April 18 prolonged the suffering of their victims by stabbing them repeatedly with dull knives, the media report. A Sabah newspaper story notes that one victim, the German missionary Tilman Geske, suffered 156 knife wounds.

An AsiaNews correspondent notes that the Turkish media have provided gruesome details of the crime, but still shy away from mentioning the motivation of the killers, who were apparently influenced by a vitriolic anti-Christian propaganda campaign which still continues in Turkey.

The Hurriyet newspaper reports that the attackers were led by a 22-year-old, Emre Gunaydin, who threw himself from a window to his death before police could capture him. Police are reportedly still looking for several accomplices to the crime, with 10 young men already in custody.

The Sabah story says that the attacks had originally intended to kill the owner of the Zirve publishing house, Martin de Lenge. However, when they could not find him, they killed the three Christian employees who were in the offices.

The leading Islamic figure in Turkey-- who met with Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) during his visit there last November-- condemned the killings. "Murder cannot be justified by religion," said Grand Mufti Ali Bardakoglu. "Such heinous murders are a most grave sin. This is a betrayal of Islam."

Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Virtues and vices are the food of the soul and it can feed on either one, turning to whichever one it wants. If it is bent toward moral excellence, it will be fed by virtue - by righteousness, temperance, meekness, endurance. In other words, it is just as St. Paul says, 'being nourished by the word of truth' (1 Tim. 4:6).

St. Ignatius of Antioch