Friday, February 06, 2015


Today is the feast of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan, also known as St. Paul Miki and Companions, who, on orders from Hideyoshi Toyotomi, were crucified and speared in Nagasaki on February 5, 1597. (February 5 is the feast of St. Agatha, one of the oldest and most important Virgin Martyr feasts, which is why the Twenty-Six Martyrs have their feast today instead of yesterday.) Of the twenty-six, four were from Spain, one from Mexico, one from India; the other twenty were Japanese. The youngest (St. Luis Ibaraki) of those executed was twelve years old.

Antonio Dainan
Bonaventura of Miyako
Cosme Takeya
Francisco Branco
Francisco of Nagasaki
Francisco of Saint Michael
Gabriel de Duisco
Gaius Francis
Gundisalvus (Gonsalvo) Garcia
James Kisai
Joaquim Saccachibara
Juan Kisaka
Juan Soan de Goto
Leo Karasumaru
Luis Ibaraki
Martin of the Ascension
Mathias of Miyako
Miguel Kozaki
Paulo Ibaraki
Paul Miki
Pablo Suzuki
Pedro Bautista
Pedro Sukejiroo
Philip of Jesus
Thomas Kozaki
Thomas Xico

The execution was just a warning shot across the bow; Hideyoshi wanted to make clear to the Christian daimyo that they needed to fall in line. But other persecutions would sporadically follow, and then rigorous repression, so that the Catholics of Japan were without priest or open worship for more than two hundred years. But they were still there.

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