One of the men came forth and spoke in a manner that we should all pray we could emulate,
My brothers, until today we have fought in defense of our country, to save our lives, and for our lords; now it is time that we fight to save our souls for our Lord, so that having died on the cross for us, it is good that we should die for him, standing firm and constant in the faith, and with this earthly death we shall win eternal life and the glory of martyrs.Angered that they would not renounce their faith, the Pasha ordered all the men killed. On August 14, 1480, the prisoners were brought to a nearby hill and beheaded, while their families and friends were forced to watch. According to tradition, the body of the first victim, tailor Antonio Primaldo, refused to fall over until the entire group had been executed. The destruction of the town complete, and its population decimated, the invaders continued their march toward Rome.
A year later, in October 1481, the bodies of the martyrs were found to be uncorrupted and moved to the Otranto cathedral. On December 14 1771, Pope Clement XIV beatified these brave men. Their cause for Sainthood is completed today as Pope Francis declares the Martyrs of Otranto to be among the Saints in Heaven.
Martyrs of Otranto, Ora pro nobis!
|Relics of the Otranto Martyrs|