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The Pope has recognised the martyrdom of two Lebanese Capuchin missionaries

The Holy Father has authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decrees concerning the martyrdom of Leonardo Melki and Tommaso Saleh, of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, killed for their faith in Turkey in 1915 and 1917.


The two Capuchin missionaries were originally from Baabdat, a Lebanese town in the district of al-Matn on Mount Lebanon, twenty-two kilometres from Beirut. They were arrested, tortured and killed in Turkey during the 1915 genocide.

Father Léonard Melki (1881-1915) after hiding the Blessed Sacrament upon the arrival of the police refused to commit apostasy. He was taken to the desert, where he was executed on the 11th of June in 1915 with the Armenian Bishop, Blessed Ignace Maloyan, and 415 other men from Mardin.

The second missionary martyr, Father Thomas Saleh (1879-1917), after giving hospitality to an Armenian priest during the genocide was arrested, sentenced to death and then deported in the middle of winter under the escort of a platoon of soldiers. He died on the 18th of January in 1917, repeating with courage the phrase:

“I have full trust in God; I am not afraid of death.”

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