(CNS) Fares Melki’s first introduction to his great-uncle was when he asked his grandfather about the picture framed above his grandfather’s bed. About 10 years later, Melki bought a book about the Armenian genocide and discovered that it included passages from the diary of Father Leonard Melki.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Capuchin Father Salim Rizkallah had been appointed had been appointed vice postulator of the sainthood cause of Armenian Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Maloyan of Mardin, Turkey. In his research, Father Rizkallah learned that Father Melki was among the more than 400 Christians martyred with the archbishop in Turkey 1915. Father Saleh was killed two years later.
So, began, around 1979, the extensive research collaboration between Melki and Father Rizkallah for the cause of canonization of the two martyrs from Baabdat: Fathers Melki and Saleh. Father Rizkallah was officially appointed vice postulator for the causes of the two martyrs in 2003; he died in January 2020, 10 months before the announcement of their beatification.