Indian Christian Martyrdom Day


Persecution Relief commemorated Indian Christian Martyrdom Day (ICMD), on 22nd July 2017, which was observed to acknowledge, remember and stand with families who have lost their dear ones as Martyrs for Jesus Christ, in India. This event created great awareness across the Church’s, Bible Colleges, Mission Organisations and Christian institutions in India.


We take this opportunity to thank all of you, from several 100’s of Church’s, for your overwhelming response, joining hands with us in commemorating this unique annual event.


The time has come for us to join together again, to observe the 2nd Indian Christian Martyrdom Day (ICMD)on 22nd of July 2018, to pray for the families of Martyrs & the Persecuted Church in India. As this day falls on a Sunday, we request all Church’s, Bible Colleges & Christian Institutions to spare few minutes to Pray and educate the Church members about the event.

To suffer death for the sake of Christ and His Gospel is a gift and an honour that glorifies Christ. The sacrifice of these families who have lost the dear ones, is great in the sight of the Lord; the remembrance of them will be pleasant, and the reward far above all their services and sufferings.

In the present times, the Church in India has a greater role and responsibility to play, in standing alongside the Persecuted brethren. For families, the pain of losing a loved one – for a mother who has lost her son, for a wife who has lost her husband and for a child who has lost a parent – the Church must continue to support and express solidarity to them, the body of Christ, irrespective of the denominations we belong.

Enclosed please find the Poster to print and display on notice boards before and on the 22nd of July 2018and Prayer Points which you may use during this event. Please feel free to circulate the same among Church members.Please share with us your stories, photographs and videos of this event to: or WhatsApp us on +91 99932 00020.

The memory of these brothers and Sisters of Christ, must remain alive. Indeed, may it grow. May it be passed down from generation to generation that it may germinate a profound Christian revival’.

Together, let us come alongside as the hands of Christ, impact the lives and hearts of Martyr’s families and make ICMD – Indian Christian Martyrdom Day, a day to remember in the nation of India.

Thank you for being part of Persecution Relief family. We acknowledge and honor your commitment and support.


God bless you

Shibu Thomas

JULY 22, 2018



For the Families of the Martyrs:

  • Pray that our Heavenly Father and the sweet Holy Spirit, will comfort the Martyrs families and provide for them spiritually, physically & materially
  • Pray for the parent, spouse and children as they grieve the Martyr’s loss; that God would provide grace for them to forgive and be free of bitterness or hate; strengthen, & encourage them as only He can, father to the fatherless
  • Pray that God would surround the families with His angels and give them supernatural joy that comes from knowing that they will see the loved ones again in Your kingdom.
  • Pray that the Martyr’s life would serve as a testimony and bring others to Jesus
  • Pray that the people whose life he touched, while alive and through his courageous death, will continue to do the Lord’s work
  • Pray that God will call the ‘murderers’ to Himself, to be His powerful witnesses. Open their eyes to see the salvation through Jesus Christ

For the Persecuted Church:

  • Pray that the persecuted believers would know the love of God and the hope God gives
  • Pray that God would raise up bold men and women to continue the ministry and fight the good fight
  • Pray that God will continue to protect His precious servants, shield them with Peace and surround them with favour.
  • Pray for persecuted Christians who have been imprisoned – for their early release;that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them
  • Please pray for the persecuted believers to fearlessly tell others about Jesus
  • Pray for Christians who have been rejected by family and friends. Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian “family” who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically.
  • Pray for the persecuted Christians to have the courage to remain in their homeland.

– Please print and circulate –

What is the significance about this date?

“Bharat Ki Beti”, was brutally raped and killed since her family were not ready to forsake Jesus Christ and the fanatics wanted to teach them a lesson.

As a tribute to this young girl, whose life was cruelly snuffed outon July 22nd, Persecution Relief have decided to commemorate ‘Indian Christian Martyrdom Day’ as an Annual Event. We remember the families of the Martyrs who lost their lives defending their faith in Jesus Christ, whose life and death, preached the loudest messages in the face of religious oppression.

2016 saw the highest number of Martyrs’, post-Indian Independence. We need to honor their families, tell their stories in our Churches, our homes and in our communities. This is our responsibility and duty so we may be renewed in taking up our cross daily no matter what it might cost us.

Our Objective:

  • To make the Church aware of the great sacrifices made by the Martyrs who lost their lives for the gospel sake, in India
  • To honour, remember the sacrificesmade by Christian Martyrs families, and stand together and support of them
  • To create awareness on the plight of the Persecuted Church in India and stir up people to seek the face of God
  • To motivate and encourage the Church in India to pray for the Persecutors
  • To prepare the Church to stand boldly and go forward with the gospel in India
  • To inspire and be inspired even to lay down our own lives if necessary, for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ

What is the expectation from you?

AWARENESS is the abject lack in the current Church landscape.

Are we aware that the anti-Christian persecution is spreading slowly but surely?

Are we aware that Christians, our brethren are being martyred and persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ?

Do we remember them?

Do we pray for their families?

Are we indifferent or is it as if one of your family member had died?

Do we tell their stories in our Churches, our homes and our communities?

Are we aware that there is a deliberate attempt to silence the media as these incidents are not covered by the mainstream media?

SUPPORT US BY SPREADING CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION NEWS AND HELP CREATE AWARENESS.It is important to look beyond our own boundaries, to feel that we are the Church, one family in God!

How can you be part of this movement?



Pray frequently and on a daily basis for the Persecuted brethren across India

Pray earnestly – remembering those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners.

Pray with empathy and compassion, as if identifying and enduring the same hardships (Heb. 13:3)

Pray always in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)

Pray that the Persecutors will be transformed from Saul to Paul

PROVIDE:   Your time, your resources, your skills, your wealth, Be a Volunteer

PARTICIPATE: ‘Adopt a Martyr’s family,’ ‘Adopt a persecuted family’ There are numerous widows of martyred brothers, orphans and single parents of persecuted families who do not have the basic sustenance. With the growing persecution of the Christian Church, the Christian community needs to step in to support the future generations.

See information at the bottom of the page on how you can

  • Adopt a Martyr’s Family
  • Adopt a persecuted Family

Jesus said, “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” – Mark 9: 41.

To learn more and partner with us, write to us at



What should the response and reaction of the Martyrs widows be?

Listen to their own words: 

Bro. Maner Sori (Father of ‘Bharat ki Beti – Sis Esther who was raped and murdered)“I will never recant Jesus Christ whatever may happen. I am not worried about my daughter because she is at the safest place in Heaven. Even though they have threatened the same fate to my other daughters, I still will not forsake Christ”


Sis. Sonamati Dhan (widow of Pastor Chamu Purty – shot dead):“I forgive my husband’s killers even though I am left with 4 children. I have taken responsibility of the church which no body was willing to, because of fear. God is giving me grace.”


Sis. Susanna Lugun (widow of Pastor David Lugun who was shot dead):My husband was murdered in front of me but I did not run away. I am still living in the same village and continuing serving the Lord” 


Sis. Uika Mangaldevi (widow of Pastor Yohan Maraiah who was beheaded):“Even though my husband has been martyred for Christ, my 3 sons have volunteered to carry on the work my husband started. I have forgiven my husband’s killers”


Sis. Debe Madi (widow of Gurumurthy Madi who was shot dead):I need your prayers and support to bear this great loss”


Sis. Gladys Staines (widow of Pastor Graham Staines who lost her husband and 2 little sons- burnt alive): “I have forgiven the killers and have no bitterness because forgiveness brings healing and our land needs healing from hatred and violence”

So, is it possible to forgive our persecutors? The Bible says it is possible; these widowed sisters have confessed it. 

Forgiveness is not emotional; it has nothing to do with our feelings, it’s a CHOICE. It’s a journey…

In conclusion: 

Thank you for being part of Persecution Relief family. We acknowledge and honor your commitment and support. Let’s humbly pray for divine strength and love, that we will continue faithfully and consistently as His army, ministering amongst the persecuted believers.

Together, let us come alongside as the hands of Christ, to impact the lives and hearts of persecuted Christians today, that they might continue to proclaim the ‘name of Jesus’ to the nation of India.

If you know or hear of any Christian martyr’s widows, or of any Christian languishing in jail because of persecution, please inform us immediately at

“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways.”

God bless you.


2017 was the 1st year when we initiated ICMD – Indian Christian Martyrdom Day’, which elicited an overwhelming response. We were honored to have 100’s of Church’s, both in India and across the globe, renowned Bible Colleges and Christian Institutions, offer up their time and energy for the event. We appreciate every bit of their participation and involvement.


“The faculty, staff and students of The South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS) honored the martyrs of the gospel in a special prayer session held at the SAIACS chapel on Friday, June 21, 2017.This was in solidarity with Persecution Relief India’s appeal to set apart July 22nd as the Indian Christian Martyrs Day. Worship was led by Francis and team, and Dr. Ashish Chrispal, former principal and visiting faculty, preached from the story of Elijah, challenging the church to trust in God in difficult times. Following the sermon, Nivdi, a first-year student pursuing MTh in Theology led the community’s prayer. We remembered those suffering persecution, the comfort of the survivors, the progress of the Gospel and the transformation of the nations” – Dr. Idicheria Ninan, SAIACS, Bangalore

Appreciate the effort taken by Persecution Relief” – Bro. Moncy Mammen, UBS

“We prayed during our special phone meeting for the event planned by Bro. Shibu Thomas. Many Churches here prayed for this cause today too. Thanks for your burden for this cause. – Malayalam Christian Network, Maryland, USA

“Thank you very much for all that you do for our persecuted brothers and sisters and also to inform the Church at large what is happening in our land. May the Lord continue to bless you in every way!” – George Chavanikamannil

“Thank you for the great work you do for Christ. We are standing with you in prayer and support. This Sunday, we will spend special time praying for the Martyrs’ families and your ministry” – Pr. Eldose,

“Thank you, Pr. Shibu Thomas, for your initiatives for   Churches in India.   As a minister of IPC Odisha same time i am serving the Lord as the Director of Odisha Bible Training Center Bhubaneswar, (OBTC) which is the associated with IBC&S Kumbanad, Kerala. As you mentioned this evening we have arranged a special prayer meeting from 6.30 PM to 8 PM for the matter in OBTC. God bless you for this movements.”Pr.V.D.Babu, Odisha


“According to your appeal, we took time to remember and pray for the Persecuted Church and Martyrs. We admire the efforts and pain you are taking for the disadvantages and persecuted. May our good God continue to bestow His supernatural charisma upon you, your team and your family, to accomplish the task vividly. Our sincere prayers are with you” SEAL Ashram Mumbai.


“We set aside a slot of time from our regular prayer meeting and observed July 22, as Indian Christian MartyrdomDay”-Rev. Dr. Valuchhuanawma, UBS

“We dedicate an hour daily, to pray for the Persecuted and the Persecutors”- Boston Prayer Line, USA –

“Over 280+ students, sacrificially abstained from using their pocket money and contributed it towards support of the Persecuted Church”- NTC Dehradun


Who is a Martyr?

The word Martyr serves Christian traditions and originates from the term “witness”, as in the embodiment of faith. A martyr is someone who dies for their beliefs and for defending a cause.


Should all Christians desire to become Martyrs’? What does the Bible say? 

The Bible applauds faithful believers who pay the ultimate price for their witness. Stephen was granted a glorious vision of heaven before he died, and in this vision, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56), as though waiting for Stephen in an attitude of honor for Stephen’s faithful service. Jesus pronounced a blessing upon those who were persecuted for His name: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Clearly, the Biblical evidence points to the fact that those who are persecuted and suffer for their witness to Christ (including enduring death) are pleasing in God’s sight.

However, when Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39), He is not calling for people to make an attempt to lose their lives. Rather, He is calling us to be willing to lose our lives for His sake.

Martyrdom is an expectation. Those who actively seek the path of martyrdom are not seeking it for the glory of God, but for their own glory. As the old saying goes, “the blood of the Martyrs’ is the seed of the church”. God’s purpose in martyrdom is the glorification of His name and the building up of His church.




Pastor Abraham Tigga Topno, Jharkhand: Pastor Abraham Tigga Topno, 46-years of age, is a very well-known and prominent Christian in the community.  He had been ministering in the area for more than 20 years, with “Fellowship Church”, Jharkhand. His beheaded body was found close to the isolated Kubasal village in Tamar-I, Tehsil of Ranchi district in Jharkhand, on 01 May 2018.

Even though it is the perception that Maoists killed him, it is significant to note that Pastor had received threats in the past, from local religious fundamental groups in the village because of this outspoken.

Pastor Abraham Tigga Topno, Jharkhand

Sis. Subbaravamma, Andhra Pradesh:  Sis. Chadarajupalli Subbaravamma, belonging to the Kummara tribe, around 65 years of age, and living in the village Bollapalli, Marturu Mandala, Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh, along with her 75-year-old husband, K. Jaya Ramaiah, her son Subharayadu and his wife. On 21st March, 2018, when Sister was praying on her terrace, the killer who used to made stone idols, trespassed into her house and attacked sister by beating her fatally on her head, multiple times until she collapsed.



Pastor Gideon, Tamil Nadu: On January 20th January 2018, a Pastor in Tamil Nadu was found murdered. It is alleged that Pastor Gideon Periyaswamy was brutally beaten and tortured before being murdered. His body was found hanging in the Church at Kovathur, on ECR Road, near Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, situated on the Coromandel Coast, 70 kilometers South of Chennai.


Pastor Sultan Masih, Punjab: Two men on a motorbike, shot dead a Pastor outside the “Temple of God” Church in Ludhiana, Punjab on 16th July 2017. His life began from very humble beginnings in a slum. He was pastoring “Temple of God”, one of the fastest growing churches in Ludhiana and was also running a school in the church. Masih was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.



Sis. Esther (Bharat ki Beti), Chhattisgarh: On 22nd July, at 9.00 am, 16-year old Esther (name changed), was raped and killed, as she walked back home from school. The girl usually returned at four or five in the evening, but when she wasn’t home even an hour later, the family grew worried. Around 6 pm, three meters from the road, they found her school bag. Her body was found half naked in the forest under Bayanar Police Station jurisdiction, district Kondagaon, in the state of Chhattisgarh. She had been intercepted by a group of men who gang raped and murdered. The cruel perpetrators even glued her eyes & lips together with Fevi Kwick!


Pastor Chamu Purty, Jharkhand: Pastor Chamu Purty was pastoring a small church in the village Sandigaon which is 13 kms off the main NH 75 this village. On 13th October, around 11:30 PM, around 10-12 people with arms knocked their mud house door seeking prayer.  Peeping through the small window, his wife, Sr. Sonamti Purty saw armed men standing outside. Reluctant to let her husband outside, Sr. shouted out that her husband had retired for the night. These irate men began to pound on the door and broke it open with axes and attacked the pastor. The Pastor was attacked and shot dead in cold blood. Sr. Sonamati and her son, who witnessed this nightmare, managed to flee in the cover of darkness and hid in the jungle through the night. Pastor Chamu Purty is survived by his wife Sonamati Purty and three daughters and a son.


Pastor David Lugun, Jharkhand: Pastor David Lugun of Jharkhand was shot 3 times and he was killed on the road just before his house. on 29th of July 2015. He was very effective in evangelism and in a very short time formed a house church with 7 families. Despite severe persecution, Pastor, his family and members of this Church, did not forsake Jesus. Several attempts at his life were made. Finally, on 29th July of 2015 by 7:00pm 3 men who were masked came on a motor-bike to Pr. David’s house with arms. They dragged him out on the road and fired 3 Bullets and killed him.


Pastor Yohan Mariah, Andhra Pradesh:Pastor Yohan Maria, lived in Yetapaka Village in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Pr. Maria, who himself was once a Maoist, had a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ and renounced his former life. His entire family and many others were transformed by this powerful witness and became disciples of Jesus Christ. However, his conversion efforts were not acceptable to the Maoist Leaders. His constant quote was “I live or die it doesn’t matter I will share the love of Jesus to all’. On 29th July, 2016, at around 2:30 am, Maoists dragged him to a nearby forest where they mercilessly beat him, beheaded him, and left him on the outskirts of the village. They left a note at the murder scene accusing him of being “a police informer” and “accumulating disproportionate wealth exploiting Tribals.” Pastor Yohan is survived by his wife & 4 children.


Pastor Gurumurthy Madi, Odisha: Pastor Gurumurthy Madi had served many needy people in Malkangiri, Odisha.  It was on the 10th of August 2016, when few men from the village came to their house in the wee hours looking for Guru as they needed to talk with him. Guru was away in the nearby villages spreading the Word to the thirsty. Guru never doubted the intention of the people seeking him as he was known in the province as a “Gospel Preacher” and the one who was available for any kind of help to the needy.  The next day, 11th August, 2016, the religious fanatics came looking for him again saying they needed to clarify few things. At night, at about 9 pm, they heard four-gun shots from the nearby forest surrounding the village. They found him, lying on ground bleeding from the wounds of the gunshots & the brutal, vicious beatings. Guru is survived by this wife Debe Madi and 2 children.


Pastor Abel Patadi Athram, Maharashtra: Pastor Abel Patadi Athram, from Gadhchiroli District, Medukulli, Maharashtra was fatally shot dead after a Christmas Worship service. Once a Naxalite himself, when he heard he heard the wonderful news of the redeeming Savior, Jesus Christ and gave up his life of crime, for a life of peace and service to God in 2012. So sincere was his desire that he attended a ‘Bible Training College’ for ‘Tribal Revival Ministry’ in 2015.  His transformed life and ministry to the Naxals flourished as he brought scores to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This infuriated the Naxals who were adamant to put a stop to his influence.  Pastor Abel was shot dead at 8.00 pm on the 28th of December 2016. He is survived by his wife Anita and 2 children Reuben and Esther.


Indian History of Christian Martyrdom

Since its earliest days, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been killed for their faith. History chronicles the lives, suffering and triumphant deaths of these Christian Martyrs’. 

The first two centuries are remembered as the age of persecution or martyrdom. 

All of Jesus’disciples except for John and Judas were martyred. Surely, Jesus could have given them all a peaceful death – that in itself is a Christian’s standard. Thomas the Apostle, was the first to set foot in India. He was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72.  

Devasahayam Pillai (1712-1752) originally named Neelakandan Pillai at birth, was born into a Hindu family in the 18th century. He converted to Christianity which angered the Brahmin Chief Priest of the kingdom, the feudal lords and so he was martyred in 1752. 

Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), was a Sikh who became a Christian. He was ostracized by his family and thrown out. His heart was set towards Tibet and Nepal primarily because of the great challenges it presented against evangelism. Legend has it that he was martyred on his last journey to Tibet in 1929.


Indian Christians martyred post-Independence

In the 1990’s, three new Catholic converts were martyred in Assam for accepting a foreign religion.  

In 1994, three priests were savagely murdered and their Church bombed in the South Chotanagpur region.  

Early in 1995, five Franciscan nuns died near the border between Delhi and Ghaziabad. 

In February 1996, Sister Rani Maria was stabbed more than 40 times in broad day light and her body mutilated. 

In January 1999, Graham Stuart Staines, an Australian Christian missionary who, along with his two sons Philip and Timothy, was burnt to death by right-wing religious activists. For nearly 35 years, he lived and worked with some of the poorest Adivasi communities in Odisha, along with his wife.

In November 1999, in a hate campaign led by religious fundamentalists, Father Arul Das, a Catholic Priest was martyred. 

In 2016, among the galaxy of contemporary anti-Christian persecution, Bharat Ki Beti (Sis Esther), Pastor Yohan Maraiah, Pastor Chamu Purthy, Pastor Gurumurthy Madi, Pastor David Lugun and Pastor Abel Patadi– stand out like beacons. No death is in vain. 

Day in and day out, we continue to hear of brutal, horrific stories of persecution, torture and suffering. Not only are our brethren suffering physical and mental abuse, they are also being socially boycotted. A village collectively shuns the Christian, refusing to buy nothing from them, sell nothing, cutting off water supply, exchanging no words with them, showing them plainly that they are not wanted there. Life becomes so uncomfortable, with no source of income, that they voluntarily leave the society. Christian families are displaced; Christian homes are abandoned.