French Monk Forgave Future Algerian Killer In Letter To God

The family of Christian de Cherge, one of the seven French Trappist monks killed by Algerian terrorist in 1996, released his last testament, a Dieu (To God), “to be opened in the event of my death.” Some extracts taken from the translation by the monks at mount Bernard Abbey, Coalville, Leicester are given below.

If it should happen one day- and it could be today- that I become a victim of terrorism... I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and this country.

I ask them to be able to associate such a death with many other deaths which were just as violent but forgotten through indifference and anonymity. My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value.

I should like, when the time comes, to have a clear space to be forgiveness of God and of all my fellow human beings and to forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down.

I do not see how I could rejoice if this people I love were to be accused indiscriminately of my murder. I know the scorn with which Algerians as a whole can be regarded. I know also the caricature of Islam which a certain king of idealism encourages. For me, Algeria and Islam are something different, they are a body and a soul.

I have proclaimed this often enough, finding there so often that true strand of the Gospel, in Algeria itself, in the respect of believing Muslims.

For this life given up, totally mine and totally theirs, I thank God who seems to have wished it entirely for the sake of that joy in everything and in spite of everything. In this, I thank you...

And you also, the friend of my final moment, who would not be aware of what you were doing. Yes, for you also I wish this thank you – and this ‘adieu’ – to commend you to the God whose face I see in yours. And may we find each other, happy ‘good thieves’ in paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen