Saints of Otranto

Monday, May 13, AD 2013

Twelve years before Christopher Columbus discovered a New World, 800 men and boys of Otranto laid down their lives for Christ.  The city of Otranto, at the heel of the boot of Italy, was seized by the Turks under Gedik Ahmed Pasha, grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire.  Archbishop Stefano Argercolo de Pendinellis was murdered in his cathedral by the Turks and the garrison commander was sawn in half.  Following a massacre of most of the population the Turks offered some 800 men and boys the choice between conversion to Islam or death.  Led by an elderly tailor, Antonio Pezzulla, the men and boys chose death rather than apostacy, and were beheaded on the hill of Minvera outside the town on August 14, 1480, their families forced by the Turks to help in the executions.

Christian forces under  Alfonso of Aragon, a son of the King of Naples, retook the city in 1481, and the bodies of the martyrs were found to be uncorrupted.  The process of canonization was begun in 1529, the martyrs were beatified in 1771 and the martrys were canonized on May 12 by Pope Francis.  In his homily the Pope recalled Christians today who suffer persecution for their faith:

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8 Responses to Saints of Otranto

  • As Revelation 6:9-11 states:

    “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”

  • There’s a picture of the church in Naples where the skulls and bones of these martyrs are at wdtprs.com in the post “Pope Francis canonizes the Martyrs of Otranto, slain by Islamic invaders”.

    ” As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good. “

  • If dying for Christianity can make one a saint, then the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottomans in 1915 certainly deserve to be canonized by the Pope!

    Boghos L. Artinian MD

  • Revelation 20:4

    King James Version (KJV) (The KJV read better when it comes to the blood-curdling passages)

    4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

    Among the countless stories of Christians persecuted and killed in recent years, this one in particular affected me deeply:

    (AINA) — According to the Assyrian website ankawa.com, a 14 year old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was decapitated at his work place on October 21.

    Ayad Tariq was working his 12 hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID.

    According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw the insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID stated “Christian”, asking if he was truly a “Christian sinner.” Ayad replied “yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner.” The insurgents quickly said this is a “dirty Christian sinner!” Then they proceeded to each hold one limb, shouting “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” while beheading the boy.

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  • A few hundred years later the Ottomans, these same Saracens, with the help of agents of the British Empire, were revamped into sickly Europeans, while the Russians remained a land of mindless Slavs and brutish Vikings to plague the sensibilities of the bovine Queen Victoria.