Japanese Martyrs: 23 Franciscans Suffered for Being Christians

On February 6, Christians remember the first Japanese martyrs—26 Franciscans and Jesuits crucified at Nagasaki in 1597. This year their feast day fell on Sunday, so they were not commemorated liturgically, but their witness is a heroic one. 

Honored often as Saint Paul Miki and Companions

Although in the larger Church, they are honored under the name of one of the Jesuits as Saint Paul Miki and Companions, 23 of these martyrs were Franciscans. As you can see from the Japanese painting, six were Franciscan friar missionaries, headed by the Spaniard, Peter Baptist. Besides three other friars from Spain, the group included a native Mexican friar, Felipe de Jesus, and a native of India, Gonsalvo Garcia. The other Franciscans were 17 native Japanese Secular Franciscans, including two young boys (ages 12 and 13).

Japanese martyrs church Nagasaki Japan 700pxlsThe church of the Japanese martyrs in Nagasaki, Japan, was built in 1879.

Franciscans remember these martyrs

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