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Feast of the Martyrs of Japan (February 5)   Leave a comment

martyrs-of-nagasaki

Above:  Martyrs of Nagasaki

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

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The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

–Tertullian (circa 155-circa 240)

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Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries had converted at least 300,000 Japanese by 1597.  This alarmed the Tokugawa shogun that year, for he associated Christianity with Western imperialism.  The first victims of the persecution were the Martyrs of Nagasaki, crucified together on February 5, 1597.  The 26 Franciscan missionaries, Jesuit missionaries, and Japanese converts were:

  1. St. Antony Deynan (age 13),
  2. St. Bonaventure of Miyako,
  3. St. Cosmas Takeya,
  4. St. Francis Blanco,
  5. St. Francis of Nagasaki,
  6. St. Francis of St. Michael,
  7. St. Gabriel de Duisco,
  8. St. Gundisalvus Garcia,
  9. St. James Kisai,
  10. St. Joachim Saccachibara,
  11. St. John Kisaka,
  12. St. John Soan de Goto,
  13. St. Kichi Franciscus,
  14. St. Leo Karasumaru,
  15. St. Louis Ibaraki (age 12),
  16. St. Martin of the Ascension,
  17. St. Matthias of Miyako,
  18. St. Michael Kozaki,
  19. St. Paul Ibaraki,
  20. St. Paul Miki,
  21. St. Paul Suzuki,
  22. St. Peter Baptist,
  23. St. Peter Sukejiroo,
  24. St. Philip of Jesus,
  25. St. Thomas Kozaki (age 15), and
  26. St. Thomas Xico.

The Roman Catholic Church has beatified and canonized hundreds of other Martyrs of Japan who died for the faith from 1598 to 1639.

Sustained persecutions drove Christianity in Japan underground by 1630.  Nevertheless, a remnant of the faithful persisted for more than two centuries.  When new missionaries arrived in the 1800s, they found Christians.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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O God our Father, source of strength to all your saints,

you brought the holy martyrs of Japan

through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life:

Grant that we, encouraged by their example,

may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:10-12

Psalm 40:1-11 or 40:5-11

1 Corinthians 1:18-24

John 12:23-33

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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