VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Do something to put a stop to the violence and oppression,” Pope Francis asked the international community after calling attention once again to the fate of persecuted Christians, especially in the Middle East. After reciting the Angelus Aug. 30, Pope Francis told thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square that, the previous evening in Lebanon, martyred Syriac Bishop Flavien-Michel Malke was beatified. “In the context of a tremendous persecution of Christians, he was an untiring defender of the rights of his people, exhorting all of them to remain firm in their faith,” the pope said. “Today as well, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted,” the pope said. “May the beatification of this bishop and martyr fill them with consolation, courage and hope.” Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis told people in the square, “There are more martyrs (today) than there were in the first centuries” of Christianity.