On July 9th, 1860 a fire broke out through the Christian area of Damascus. Many Maronite families took refuge in a Franciscan monastery along with the Massabki brothers and the Superior, Father Emmanuel.
)Father Emmanuel closed the Monastery and called everyone to the church where they prayed and made their confession and received communion. While everyone took refuge on the roof, Francis one of the Massabki brothers remained kneeling at the feet of the Sorrowful Mother. Moments later the church was attacked, The Superior Father was captured and told the attackers that he would lead them to the treasure inside the church. He proceeded to the altar, where he lit the candles and took out the Eucharist from the tabernacle. Father Emmanuel was then put to death.
The attackers then noticed Francis kneeling in prayer and recognized him. They told him that the Sheikh had sent them to save him and his family from death on the condition that he deny his faith and convert. Francis answered them, "Sheikh Abdullah can take my money, he can also take my life; but my faith no one can make me deny. I am a Christian and in the faith of Christ, I will die." Francis was then put to death.
The attackers then confronted Abdel El –Maoti in the convent yard and also asked him to renounce his faith to escape death; He refused and was also martyred.
Raphael, who was hiding inside the convent was offered the same as his brothers, but also refused and was also martyred. According to witnesses, the three Massabki brothers were buried in the convent along with the eight martyr priests and others who had sought refuge there.
On October 7, 1926, His Holiness Pius XI proclaimed the beatification of the three brothers. The Massabki brothers are great role models for Maronite families. Although they were rather wealthy, they remained faithful and humble. We pray, that these great Maronites will soon be recognized amongst our Maronite Saints. We ask for their intercession to help us live our lives as honest Christians, and we pray for all those who are being persecuted around the world. May they find refuge and comfort in you Lord. Amen.
(From: Living Maronites)
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