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News > Latin America

El Salvador: Four Martyrs of the Civil War Are Beatified

  • Citizen holds an image of the Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande.

    Citizen holds an image of the Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande. | Photo: Twitter/ @Telemundo44

Published 27 August 2021

Rutilio Grande, Cosme Spessotto, Manuel Solórzano, and Nelson Rutilio Lemus were killed by dead squads.

On Friday, the Vatican authorized the beatification of the Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande and Franciscan friar Cosme Spessotto, who were assassinated in El Salvador during the civil war.


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"Pope Francis has granted the celebration of the beatification of the venerable servants of God," the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador said and announced that the beatification ceremony will be presided over by Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez on Jan. 22, 2022.

Father Rutilio Grande was assassinated by death squads while traveling to El Paisnal, north of San Salvador, on March 12, 1977. During this operation of State terrorism, Manuel Solorzano, 72, and Nelson Rutilio Lemus, 15, also died.

After the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the Salvadoran church began the canonical process of the Great Jesuit and the Vatican recognized his martyrdom on February 22, 2020.

The tweet reads, "As ordered by the Episcopal Conference, the bells of El Paisnal were replicated at 12:00 in honor of the beatification of Father Rutilio Grande, Nelson Rutilio Lemus, Manuel Solorzano and Father Cosme Spessotto."

Cosme Spessotto was shot dead in the parish of San Juan Nonualco on June 14, 1980. Although he was born in Mansue in Italy, the Franciscan friar chose to live in El Salvador where he served as priest for 30 years.

During his life, Spessotto denounced injustices and helped the sick, thus becoming an uncomfortable character for the powerful who managed to assassinate him while he was officiating mass in his parish. His martyrdom was approved "out of hatred of the faith" on May 27, 2020.

Currently, Archbishop Romero is the only Salvadoran who has been elevated to the altars of the Catholic Church in a ceremony held on Oct. 14, 2018.

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