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In memoriam Giulio Regeni 1988-2016

Girton College Tower, flag at half-mast, in darkness

One of the most tragic events in the recent history of Girton College is the abduction, torture and murder five years ago of Giulio Regeni, a member of the MCR who was working towards a PhD. Giulio was a wise, kind, fun-loving friend and an inspiring colleague to those who knew him, as well as a fine ambassador for the values and aspirations that we as a College hold dear. 

Giulio disappeared in Cairo on 25 January 2016; his body was found on the outskirts of the city on 3 February 2016. In the coming days the members of our College will, in their different ways, be pausing to mark the anniversary of his death.

We offer here an act of remembrance from College Chapel which you can share at anytime by watching the video and following the order of service that is given below.  

Nevertheless, recognising that there is always something powerful about acting collectively, we invite you to follow the service - or to make an act of commemoration through any faith or none - at 12 noon on Monday 25 January 2021.

Lighting of candles for Giulio Regeni

Girton College Chapel Ceremony

At Girton our reflection includes the lighting of a candle, followed by a two minute’s silence; something we will be doing each day at 12 noon until between now and 3 February 2021.

Liturgy in memory of Giulio Regeni

Chaplain: The Lord be with you
All: And also with you

Chaplain: God of comfort and hope, five years on from Giulio’s death, we come to you still in shock and grief and confusion of heart. Amongst the cruelty of this world, help us to find peace in the knowledge of your loving mercy to all your children; and give us light to guide us out of darkness into the assurance of love, 
All: Amen

Readings from Scripture

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
When my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock 
that is higher than I;
For you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy 

Psalm 61:1-3

Let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like a never failing stream.        

Amos 5:24

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, not powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Lighting of a Candle

Chaplain: We light this candle in memory of Giulio, and shall do so each day at midday during this period of remembrance and mourning. In continued hope for justice and truth, we keep silence for two minutes before we pray together.

Silence – 2 minutes


Chaplain: Let us pray.

All: Merciful God, 
Hear the cries of our grief, 
for you know the anguish of our hearts.
It is beyond our understanding 
and more than we can bear.
Accept our prayer,
That having endured the worst of this world’s cruelty
Giulio may always know the safety of your loving hands and eternal love.
We pray that justice may be done;
and that we may treasure the memory of his life
Even as we are compelled to dwell on the manner of his death.

Chaplain: We pray too for Giulio’s family.
All: God of mercy and consolation,
Hear our prayer for Giulio’s family,
that  in their grief, 
and in the ongoing search for truth and justice
they may not be utterly overwhelmed, 
but, even in the darkness,
have confidence in goodness 
and strength to meet the days to come.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us
Lead us not into temptation 
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
And the glory are yours.
Now and forever.

Chaplain: Peace to the whole earth
All: Peace to the whole earth
Chaplain: Peace to all peoples
All: Peace to all peoples
Chaplain: Peace to one another
All: Peace to one another
Chaplain: Peace within
All: Peace within

Blessing and Close

Giulio Regeni 1988-2016

Giulio’s death is an incalculable loss in every way; a personal tragedy and an affront to the principles of human rights and academic freedom which Giulio himself held dear. 

As a College we stand against those who violate such principles, just as we stand firmly with Giulio’s family and friends in the quest for truth and justice as the case goes to trial in Italy later this year. 

Below is the link to a joint statement with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge which calls for academic freedom without persecution: