Saint Paul Miki and Companions

St. Paul Miki (1562–1597) and his twenty-five companions, known as the Martyrs of Nagasaki, were crucified for the faith in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1597. A Japanese layman of great nobility and wealth, Paul was converted to Christianity by St. Francis Xavier. Although the Christian missionaries did not meet with opposition initially, the Japanese rulers eventually launched a brutal campaign to wipe out its progress. The twenty-six men were forced to march 600 miles to meet their death in Nagasaki. The group included Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts. They were repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity; they all declined. When the march ended the martyrs were tied to crosses. They prayed and sang while Paul Miki preached the Gospel in a loud voice. The martyrs were then stabbed to death while they hung on their crosses. The crowd who witnessed the testimony of Paul Miki and his companions would immortalize his words and use them to further spread Christianity in Japan. Their collective feast day is February 6th.
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