| World News | Friday March 29 2013 7:14
Pope Francis has put 63 people including victims of the Spanish Civil War, Nazism and Communism on the path to sainthood by recognising miracles attributed to them, the Vatican says.
The beatifications are the Argentine Pope's first since being elected a fortnight ago and the largest number are considered martyrs of faith killed during the 1931-45 conflict in Spain.
The youngest of the group - who will be regarded as "blessed" in Catholic tradition - is a 14-year-old Italian seminarian, Rolando Rivi, who was killed by Communist partisan compatriots in 1945.
Among them is also Vladimir Ghika (1873-1945), a Romanian prince who converted from Orthodoxy to Catholicism and served as a Vatican diplomat.
After returning to Romania during World War II to help Polish refugees, he was arrested by Communist authorities in 1952 and executed.
Dominican friar Giuseppe Girotti (1905-45), who died in the Dachau concentration camp and has been praised for helping Jews, is also on the list.
The Pope on May 12 will also celebrate a mass in St Peter's Basilica to canonise the first saints of his reign - a list drawn up by his predecessor Benedict XVI just before his resignation.
Future saints include Antonio Primaldo and 800 fellow Italian martyrs, assassinated by Ottoman forces in Otranto in 1480 for not renouncing their faith.
Among the new saints are a Colombian and a Mexican nun, Laura de Santa Catalina de Siena Montoya y Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, who both founded religious orders in their countries.
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