THE NAGASAKI MARTYRS deaths: 05 FEBRUARY 1597

Pius IX^ Crucified on 05 February 1597 in Nagasaki.

Following their arrests by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, they had been taken to the public square of Meako to the city’s principal temple. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off, and then paraded from city to city for weeks with a man shouting their crimes and encouraging their abuse. The priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the laity of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined.
They are crucified on 05 February 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), Nagasaki, Japan. The Japanese style of crucifixion was to put iron clamps around the wrists, ankles and throat, a straddle piece was placed between the legs for weight support, and the person was pierced with a lance up through the left and right ribs toward the opposite shoulder
They were beatified on 14 September 1627 by Pope Urban VIII [bap. 05 Apr 1568 – 29 Jul 1644].
They were canonized on 08 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX [13 May 1792 – 07 Feb 1878]
— When the time for execution came two samurai guards stood at the foot of each of the crosses at either end of the line of prisoners. In one moment, following the Japanese method of crucifixion, each soldier plunged his steel-tipped bamboo spear into the victim’s breast, crossing over each other’s spear in the process. First, a guttural yell, then a sudden thrust, then the gush of blood. The heads of the victims sagged. The guards then moved on to the next cross.
As the executions continued, an angry roar thundered through the crowd. When the gruesome task was completed, the Christian witnesses broke past the guards, and pressed toward the crosses, soaking pieces of cloth in the martyrs’ blood and tearing their clothing for relics. Terazawa finally stopped the onrush, ordering his guards to keep the crowd away.
The bodies remained on the crosses all day, and in the night, a bishop led pilgrims to them, saying a prayer under each body. In death, Miki and his fellow martyrs continued to preach the good news of Christ: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
In a letter to his superior, Father Francis Calderon, a Jesuit missionary, wrote, “Although thirty-seven days have passed since they were crucified, we still have before our eyes . . . this holy display of the martyrs’ bodies, still on their crosses.” Father Calderon added:
I can tell Your Reverence, that these deaths have been a special gift of Divine Providence to this church. Up to now our persecutor had not gone to the extreme of shedding Christian blood. Our teaching therefore had been mostly theoretical, without the corroborating evidence of dying for our Christian faith. But now, seeing by experience these remarkable and most extraordinary deaths, it is beyond belief how much our new Christians have been strengthened, how much encouragement they have received to do the same themselves.
In 1598 an envoy from the Philippines was permitted by Hideyoshi to gather the last remains of the martyrs and their crosses. The Christians planted a tree in each of the holes in the ground left by the crosses, and in the center they built a big cross. Each year, pilgrims made their way to Nishizaka Hill, which they began calling Martyrs’ Hill. The plan to exterminate Christianity had backfired. That horrible instrument of execution, the cross, was bringing others closer to the Father.
The story of the courage and faith of the twenty-six martyrs has been faithfully preserved among generations of Christians. In 1862, these martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius IX. Today, 400 years after their deaths, a church, museum and bronze monument stand atop Nishizaka Hill to commemorate the first twenty-six martyrs and all those faithful Christians who followed them. Pope John Paul II visited the site in 1981 and named it “Resurrection Hill.”

http://www.safran-arts.com/42day/more/more4feb/0205naga.html

I was reminded that to day is the feast OF THE NAGASAKI MARTYRS. It makes me think of other country today where it is dangerous to practice faith such as in the middle East.  If I am honest would my faith last honestly I can say no I am  coward but maybe  if I lived in a country where Christianity is the minority faith in a dangerous volittile nation then God courage would come through I know so thank god I can share my faith and do it freely!

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