The prefect Pierre-André Durand, the president of the department Bertrand Bellanger (LREM), the mayor of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray Joachim Moyse (PCF), on the arm of one of Father Hamel’s sisters, Roseline, and his predecessor Hubert Wulfranc (PCF), took part in a march to the Saint-Étienne church, where a mass was later celebrated before a republican ceremony.

During a moment of meditation in front of the stele erected in memory of the priest, Mayor Joachim Moyse recalled the weight carried by his municipality. “The day of July 26 is now written in letters of blood in the history of our city,” he said, believing that the death of Father Hamel “questions us on the meaning to be given to our existence”.

The Archbishop of Rouen Dominique Lebrun declared to him to enter “in prayer where Jacques fell, victim of the madness of men” at the opening of the mass in the church where Father Jacques Hamel, 85, was slaughtered on July 26, 2016, at the end of a mass in front of three nuns and a couple of parishioners.

Before adding: “Evil is based on a binary logic, men and women have been summoned to become good Muslims in the face of the bad ones, (…) to consider non-Muslims as enemy disbelievers (. ..), to become an Islamic State fighter or to carry out attacks.”

Another octogenarian parishioner was also seriously injured in this small church in the suburbs of Rouen, when the country was hit by a series of jihadist attacks.

The two 19-year-old assassins, Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Petitjean, who claimed to be from the Islamic State (IS) group, were killed by the police as they left the church.

Justice sentenced three of their relatives, Yassine Sebaihia, Farid Khelil and Jean-Philippe Jean Louis, tried in March 2022 for “terrorist criminal association” to sentences of eight to 13 years in prison.

The fourth defendant, Rachid Kassim, propagandist of the Islamic State organization presumed dead in Iraq, was sentenced in his absence to life with a security period of 22 years for “complicity”.