Saint Paul Miki and Companions, the martyrs of Nagasaki
On the 6th of February, we commemorate twenty-six martyrs killed in 1597 in Nagasaki.
Between 1597 and 1640, a fierce persecution of Christians in Japan claimed the lives of thousands of priests, religious, and lay Christians. On the 6th of February of 1597, twenty-six Christians were martyred in Nagasaki.
After enduring torture and physical mutilation, the martyrs were paraded through a number of villages before being taken to a hill overlooking the city of Nagasaki, where they were tied to crosses and impaled with lances.
This group includes Japanese, Spanish, Mexican, and Indian religious, and a number of Japanese catechists, as well as three children who had served as altar boys for the missionary-priests.
Named for the Japanese Jesuit priest Paul Miki, the “Martyrs of Nagasaki” were canonised in 1861 and are honoured as the “protomartyrs” of the Far East and as the patron saints of Japan.