(Christian Today) - The water of the Trevi Fountain will be dyed red on April 29 to honour the Christians who have sacrificed their lives to proclaim their faith.
The event, which is being organised by the group Aid the Church in Need, is intended to be "the start of a long lasting, concrete reaction everywhere so that the persecuted people of the 21st century can as soon as possible return to fully enjoying their natural right to religious freedom."
The event will be attended by the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, Antoine Audo, and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the International President of Aid the Church in Need, who are expected to underscore the need to address systematic violations of religious freedom being experienced by Christians throughout the world.
In his recent homily, Pope Francis recounted the sacrifices of martyrs and lamented that to this day, there are still those who are being targeted and persecuted for their faith.
"It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death," he said.
Based on the World Watch List report by Open Doors, more than 100 million Christians are being persecuted because of their beliefs around the world.
There is especially severe persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria where ISIS thrives and subjects believers to violence, enslaving, and displacement. Christians in Nigeria are also being subjected to constant attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Other countries where Christians experience hardship for their faith include in North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Eritrea.
"Persecution levels have been rapidly rising. This is a cause of great concern," Open Doors CEO Lisa Pearce said previously.