Friday, August 14, 2020

The Martyrs of Otranto

Today, August 14, is the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Otranto. These faithful Christians were victims of muslim brutality and conquest in the Italian city of Otranto in 1480. On August 11, the town, which had been under siege for two weeks, was finally overrun by the Ottoman invaders. Subsequently, all men in the town over the age of 50 were slaughtered, and women and children under 15 were sent away into slavery. (Islam has actively engaged in slavery since its inception and continues to do so to this day.) The leader of the invaders, Pasha Ament ordered over 800 surviving Christian men brought before him and commanded them to convert to islam or face death. The faithful refused to cave in to his barbarous demands.

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, Pasha Ament 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 merclessly forced to watch. The first to be executed was names Antonio Primaldo. According to tradition, his body refused to fall over until the entire group had been executed.

The destruction of the town complete, and its population decimated, the moslem invaders continued their march toward Rome. Due to the two-week delay in their conquest imparted by the resolve of the faithful Christians, the forces of Italy were able to mobilize in defense of Rome. Christianity was saved from the barbaric forces of Islam once again. 

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. On May 12, 2013 their cause for Sainthood was completed when Pope Francis declared the Martyrs of Otranto to be among the Saints in Heaven.

Martyrs of Otranto, Ora pro nobis!

Relics of the Otranto Martyrs

The islamic war on Christianity, and civilized people as a whole, continues to this day. The scimitar remains the conversion tool of choice. Throughout the world, Christians are slaughtered for their faith every single day. (That whole "religion of peace" meme notwithstanding.)

Even as the global religious persecution of Christian continues, Christianity in the United States faces new threats at home. The newly "woke" have become the useful idiots of anti-Christian Socialist and Marxist organizations. These groups mask their agenda with faux outrage over real injustice, leaving mayhem and destruction in their wake. Churches are ransacked and burned. "Peaceful" protestors brutally attack Christians in the streets. Leftist politicians under the guise of health precautions put forth unconstitutional mandates restricting citizens' freedom to worship. Churches are closed for "safety." All the while, rioting, shopping at Walmart, and abortion clinics are deemed safe.

During these times, may we remain as strong as those holy citizens of Otranto. We can take inspiration from these brave men and pray that we will remain as strong in our faith in the face of evil. I often pray that when the religious persecution comes, there be enough evidence to find me guilty.

Also see "How the 800 Martyrs of Otranto Saved Rome" for more on the martyrs and their place in the history of Christendom.

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