Pope Francis said Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest knifed to death at his altar by Islamist militants in July
, was a "martyr", and indicated on Wednesday he was already on the road to sainthood.
Francis spoke at a special Mass for pilgrims from the Rouen area of France where Islamist attackers stormed into the church
in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, forced the 85-year-old Hamel to his knees and slit his throat while they chanted in Arabic
In his sermon, Francis also called on all religions to declare that "killing in the name of God is Satanic".
"He accepted his martyrdom there on the altar of Christ," the pope said in his homily in the chapel of the guest house where he lives in the Vatican.
"He gave his life for us so as not to deny Jesus," Francis said, speaking in Italian. "He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified".