Pope Will Canonize 800 Martyrs of the Ottoman Wars

Pope Francis will canonize 800 martyrs this Sunday. The 800 martyrs were killed at the hands of Ottoman soldiers in Otranto, in Southern Italy in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam.

Pope Benedict XVI recognized them as martyrs “killed out of hatred for the faith” in 2007. According to an article in the Telegraph, the Archbishop of Otranto was cut to pieces with a scimitar before the 800 were murdered.

The Hagia Sophia; largest Christian church in the world before the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. It was converted to a mosque, and is now a museum. There is discussion about turning it back into a mosque. 

The Turks were sent to capture Rome and thus complete what they had begun in with the sack of Constantinope. When his fleet landed in Oranto, the citizens held out, despite a siege and Rome did not fall.

What we owe these martyrs. Rome did not fall. 

Various media reports seem to want to make a political statement out of what is a religious ceremony. I do think that it’s important for Christians to insist on a more balanced and accurate reporting of such events as the Crusades. But it is equally important that we remember those who died rather than turn their backs on Jesus.

From CatholicHerald.co.uk:

Pope Francis is preparing to canonise an estimated 800 Italian laymen killed by Ottoman soldiers in the 15th century. The canonisation service will be on May 12 in St Peter’s Square and it will be the first carried out by the Pontiff since he was elected in early March.

The killing of the martyrs by Ottoman troops, who launched a weeks-long siege of Otranto, a small port town at the most eastern tip of southern Italy, took place in 1480.

When Otranto residents refused to surrender to the Ottoman army, the soldiers were ordered to massacre all males over the age of 15. Many were ordered to convert to Islam or die, but Blessed Antonio Primaldo, a tailor, spoke on the prisoners’ behalf. “We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, and for Jesus Christ we are ready to die,” he said, according to Blessed John Paul II, who visited Otranto in 1980 for the 500th anniversary of the martyrs’ deaths.

Primaldo inspired all the other townspeople to take courage, the late Pope said, and to say: “We will all die for Jesus Christ; we willingly die so as to not renounce his holy faith.” There were not “deluded” or “outdated,” Blessed John Paul continued, but “authentic, strong, decisive, consistent men” who loved their city, their families and their faith. (Read the rest here.)



Muslim Refugees Throw Christian Refugees Overboard into the Sea
The Murderers Got Away With It.
What's the Threat to Christians Worldwide?
Pope Accepts Bishop Finn's Resignation
  • Imelda

    Though the martyrs need no further honors as they are already with God, it is good for us in the Church militant to be offered examples of courage in the face of extreme opposition.

    I understand why some would put a political color in this move of the Vatican. It is an unfortunate consequence of the move but people should understand, too, that the Church is first and foremost concerned with the faith of her people.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I had been unaware that the Turks ever invaded Italy. Thank you Pope Francis for teaching me yet another reason why the Crusades were justifiable.

    • Dale

      Hmmm…. I dunno, Ted. The capture of Otranto was in 1480, about 200 years after the last Crusade. And it was only 50 years later that France and the Ottoman Empire became allies, sending troops to support one another against the Hapsburgs in Spain and central Europe. They also raided various Italian cities, sometimes together, sometimes at the behest of one another.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I said they were justifiable- I didn’t claim they were *SUCCESSFUL*.

        In fact, as religious wars go, the Crusades are a blueprint of how to fail.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fabio-Paolo-Barbieri/1326821465 Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      The Turks invaded Italy several times, both by land (through the north-east gap) and by sea. And they were only the last of a long history of Muslim aggression – Sicily was in Arabic hands for three centuries. The Arabs stormed Rome in 884 and stole the lead off St.Peter’s roof; they had a pirate base in Garigliano at the same time which it took the efforts of an Emperor and a Pope to destroy.Shortly after they made it as far as Acerenza in Basilicata, in the high mountains of the South. In the tenth century, Arabic pirates settled in Frejus, south-east France and next to Italy, and raided as far as Coira in Switzerland. In the eleventh century, they held Bari for some twenty years, local Emir and all. And pirate and slaving raids were a constant from the seventh until the eighteenth centuries. They never, however, managed to settle permanently.in the country – except for the Sicilian episode. It sheds an interesting light on Italian history that, while all this was going on, Italy remained the richest and most important country in Europe. The land of Dante and Thomas Aquinas was being fought for against Muslim aggression at all times and points.

  • Steve

    “The 800 martyrs were killed at the hands of Ottoman soldiers in Otranto,
    in Southern Italy in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam.”

    Am I the only person who first read that as Ontario?