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Revealing 'the untold story' of The Monks of Tibhirine

11/8/2012 - 6:23 AM PST

Catholic PRWire

For More Information:
Alexis Walkenstein, 561-445-5409 or; or
Tim Lilley, 678-990-9032 or; or
Kevin Wandra, 678-990-9032 or

Author John W. Kiser offers lessons from the lives and martyrdom of seven Cistercian monks amid the terror and violence of Algeria's Civil War

ATLANTA, GA (November 8, 2012) - Almost 10 years ago, author John W. Kiser introduced much of the Western world to the Cistercian Monks of Tibhirine, Algeria. Six years earlier, in the late-winter of 1996, the seven French brothers disappeared from their monastery in the rugged mountains south of Algiers - the suspected abduction targets of rebel fighters during the Algerian Civil War.

Word of the discovery of their remains reached the outside world in June 1996, setting off an investigative mystery that remains unsolved today. "Nobody knows for certain who kidnapped the monks or how they died," Kiser said recently. "All we know for certain is that they gave their lives because they refused to give up the principles that led them to what many considered a very remote outpost for Christianity. The 'untold story' of the Monks of Tibhirine involves their unwavering commitment to the local community - an Islamic settlement that sprouted and grew around the monastery and the brothers."

In 2003, St. Martin's Press published The Monks of Tibhirine, Kiser's historical investigative report on the monks; their lives; their deaths; and their collective legacy. It earned high critical acclaim and served as the guide for French film producer Xavier Beauvois' Of Gods and Men, which is available in the U.S. on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Classic Pictures.

"Kiser's book was our Bible," Beauvois told the media, as his film rocketed to the top of the French box office charts after earning the Grand Prix Prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. "While filming," he added, "Kiser's book was the one I returned to continuously." Of Gods and Men earned France's nomination as Best Foreign Film for the 2011 Academy Awards®.

More than 15 years after their abduction and martyrdom - and almost a decade after the publication of what must be considered the definitive report on the Monks of Tibhirine - Kiser is convinced theirs is a story that must be told again and again.

"As was the case when the book was published, the motives for the monks' kidnapping and the circumstances surrounding their deaths remain a mystery," he said. "And as also was the case in 1996 when they disappeared and in 2003 when my book was published, theirs remains a story of love and reconciliation amid fear and hatred.

"We can learn a lot from the monks," he added. "In a world rocked by terrorism and violence, the monks never wavered in their service to the people of Tibhirine; in their commitment to each other; and most importantly, in their continuous praise of the one true God through their lives and examples. We also can learn a lot from the fraternal love of the Muslim community that sprang up and thrived adjacent to the monastery. Those people often referred to the Cistercian brothers as 'their monks.'

"The story of the monks and the lessons they taught simply by living their daily lives remain vitally important - arguably more important now than ever before."

Kiser is available for speaking engagements, during which he will reveal more of the "untold story" of the Monks of Tibhirine and discuss circumstances in today's world that demand a return to this fascinating mystery and the Cistercians at its center.

Visit the online newsroom at for more information on Kiser, The Monks of Tibhirine, Of Gods and Men, the Cistercian order and the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s.

For more specific information on the book, visit

For more specific information on the film, visit

To schedule interviews with author John W, Kiser, please contact Alexis Walkenstein (561-445-5409 or; Tim Lilley (678-990-9032 or or Kevin Wandra (678-990-9032 or of The Maximus Group.

To book Kiser for a speaking engagement, contact Victor Pap (678-990-9032 or of The Maximus Group.

Contact  GA, 30188 US
Kevin Wandra - , 


The Monks of Tibhirine, Of Gods and Men, John W. Kiser, Catholic, monks


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