Thursday, May 02, 2013

Pope Francis To Canonize 800 Christians Murdered By Muslims

 People view relics of the martyrs in the Cathedral of Otranto (Photo: CNS)

Now this is interesting.

Pope Francis has decided to canonize 800 Italian Christian civilians murdered by by Ottoman soldiers in the 15th century after they refused to convert to Islam.

This took place in 1480 in Otranto, a small port town at the eastern tip of southern Italy. The Turks had captured the town and after the usual sack, rape and pillage the Christian males over the age of 15 were offered the choice of conversion or death:

The leader, known as 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 There were not “deluded” or “outdated,” Blessed John Paul continued, but “authentic, strong, decisive, consistent men” who loved their city, their families and their faith.

The skulls and other relics of the martyrs currently adorn the walls around the altar of Otranto Cathedral as a memorial to their sacrifice. According to the archdiocese’s website, popular tradition holds that when the soldiers beheaded Primaldo, his body remained standing even as the combatants tried to push him over. Legend has it that the decapitated man stood until the very last prisoner was killed, at which point Primaldo’s body collapsed next to his dead comrades.

The men of Otranto held off the forces of Mohamed II long enough for Christian forces to regroup and throw the ottoman armies out, Their sacrifice likely saved Italy from the same fate as the Balkans.

The canonization will be held in St. Peter's on May 12th.

It will be interesting to see what the Muslim world makes of this.

(h/t Robert @ Jihadwatch)

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