Choukrallah Maloyan had been ordained in Lebanon (then part of the Ottoman Empire) but served as a parish priest in Egypt. He took the name Ignazio in remembrance of the great saint from Antioch. He was sent to Mardin, Turkey in 1911 to be the archbishop to the Armenian Catholics there.
In 1915, claiming that the Catholic church was being used to hide weapons, the Turks arrested Ignazio and around 400 other Christians. The chief of the court police, Mamdooh Bek, ordered them to convert to Islam; they declined. They were chained together and marched into the desert. When they rested, Ignazio celebrated Mass with some bread scraps. That went over poorly with Mr. Bek, who ordered the group executed. Ignazio was the last to die, following one last opportunity from Mr. Bek for conversion.
His body was reported to have radiated light after he was shot, but since there were no Christian survivors, I'm not sure who reported that. It seems unlikely that the Turk would have said it, having just murdered him. I hate to be a skeptic, but I think that may be embellishment on an otherwise historical account.
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By Alex Basile
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