Pope Francis created hundreds of new saints in a ceremony at the Vatican today.
The newly canonised include 800 Italians – victims of Ottoman soldiers who carried out a massacre in the southern Italian town of Otranto in 1480, beheading those who refused to convert to Islam.
The Otranto martyrs meant the canonisation was the biggest by any pope at one time. It also included Colombia’s first saint, Laura of St Catherine of Siena, a nun who went into the forests in 1914 to teach indigenous people in a way that the Argentinian Pope said “respected their culture”.
Pope Francis said the newly created saints were a source of inspiration for “so many Christians, who, right in these times and in so many parts of the world, still suffer violence”.