Night of the Witnesses 2023
On the evening of 22nd of November 2023, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) hosted the remarkable "Night of the Witnesses" event, a poignant and moving gathering dedicated to remembering and praying for the persecuted Church. Held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, the event brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds to hear firsthand testimonies from three international speakers who shared their personal experiences of persecution. Simultaneously numerous churches also participate in ACN’s Red Wednesday, by lighting up their buildings in red to represent the martyrs.
The Night of the Witnesses has its roots in Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur Cathedrals in Paris over 15 years ago. Since then, it has become a global phenomenon, touching hearts and souls in cities such as Madrid, London, Washington D.C., and Krakow. In Australia, the inaugural Night of the Witnesses took place in 2022 in the nation's capital, Canberra. This year's event in Melbourne continued the tradition, drawing attendees into a space of reflection, prayer, and solidarity.
The event coordinator, Cathy Ransom, expressed the profound impact of the evening, stating.
“In a world full of anxiety and fear Night of the Witnesses is an event that gives participants a tangible experience of Christian courage and hope.” Said Cathy Ransom, Community Engagement Manager. “People have said to me ‘ I have a completely changed perspective about the value of my faith having heard of men and women willing to die rather than deny their Lord.’
The audience was deeply moved by the personal accounts shared by the international speakers, providing a rare glimpse into the challenges faced by those who stand firm in their faith despite persecution. The Night of the Witnesses serves as a platform to recognize and uplift spiritual giants who have demonstrated unwavering faith even in the most challenging circumstances.
As the Night of the Witnesses becomes a regular feature with Aid to the Church in Need, the organization remains committed to fostering a sense of unity and compassion for the persecuted Church. The event serves as a reminder that, despite geographical distances, we are part of a global community standing in solidarity with those who face adversity for their faith.
What is Night of the Witnesses?
Night of the Witnesses is an evening to remember, to pray and to be inspired by the witness of twelve recent Christian martyrs and to stand in solidarity with Christians all over the world who are suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.
A procession of images of these twelve men and women from countries such as Nigeria, Iraq and the Philippines will coincide with a brief reading of their stories. Visiting guest speakers will then share their personal experiences of Christian persecution and stories of faithful witness amidst persecution.
Remembering the persecuted Church through these martyrs gives us pause to reflect on the love of Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel to change the world that we are called to be witnesses in. It is an opportunity to reflect on the strength of our own Christian witness and perhaps to ask the Lord for the grace and courage to be His bright light in a world so desperate for hope.
Please continue to pray for persecuted Christians.
We hope to see you at Night of the Witnesses next year!
Watch a 2 minute video on the Night of the Witnesses