Who are your favorite martyrs? I am trying to compile a list for my students. Please add as many as you can think of! Thanks and God Bless!
Thomas More. What is particularly attractive is that he tried to find a balance between his duty as a high public servant and his duty as a Christian. For instance he didn’t criticise the King openly, he didn’t even deny that Anne Boleyn was Queen. But eventually even this wasn’t enough, and when it became clear that he had to choose between active complicity in what King Henry was doing and death, he opted for death.
He shows that you don’t have to actively seek martyrdom to be called to it.
St Igantius of Antioch: He longed to give up his life for Christ and just before being thrown in with the lions he said: I am the wheat of God, and am to the ground by the teeth of wild beasts, in order that I amy be found the pure bread of Christ.’ The Saint was instantly devouredby lions, as he had desired to be, and at the moment of his death he was heard ot invoke the adorable name of Jesus.
My favorite is St. Elizabeth the New Martyred Abbess, former Grand Duchess of Russia. She married the last Tsar’s uncle; her was sister Alix, now known to history as Tsaritsa Alexandra.
After the assassination of her husband Sergius, St. Elizabeth founded the Martha-Mary Convent of Mercy, dedicated to home health care and other good works among the poor in Moscow. At the time of her arrest by the Soviets, nearly 100 women had been tonsured not as nuns, but as Cross-bearing Sisters of Charity in a special rite authorized by the Holy Synod. Contemporary photos show that the sisters were NOT wearing the habit of a Russian nun, but something different.
Here is one site about her:
St. Stephen, definitely. First recorded martyr after the death of Christ:thumbsup:
Before him, you might add St. John the Baptist, and maybe the Innocents of Bethlehem (those who were murdered by Herod’s men). These, I’m less sure of, if they really qualify…
Aren’t they considered the first martyrs of Christ? There’s a feast day for them, so I’m pretty confident that they are.
And yes, St. Stephen Rocks!!! Notice that his death brought about the spread of the Gospel, for after he was stoned, the Apostles remained in Jerusalem, but the remaining Deacons spread out through Judea preaching the Gospel!!!
God allows evil to happen so that a greater good can come about!
Edited: I’m sorry, but there was no pun intended on the St. Stephen rocks. I’m still groaning inside when I got the double meaning.
Edmund Campion–a Jesuit
John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, Anthony Daniel, Gabriel Lalement, Charles Gamier, Noel Chabanel, John Lalande, and Rene Goupil — all Jesuits.
St. Thomas More, and all the English martyrs. They chose to serve God not the politicians. St. Philip Howard gave up a life as a favored courtier to Elizabeth to come back to the church. Listening to St. Edmund Campion dispute with Elizabeth’s theologians was the key that brought him back to the Church. He was imprisoned for years, not knowing if he would be hanged the next day. He died of malnutrition in the Tower of London.
I do admire the Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia. She was beloved by the poor of Moscow to whom she dedicated her life. She is one of the martyrs of the 20th century at Westminster Cathedral
St Maximillian Kolbe. Greater love no man has than one who lays down his life for his friend.
Miguel Pro. Killed in Mexico for being a priest.
As a mom I have to say the Holy Innocents… the first martyrs after the BIRTH of Christ.
Jean de Brebeuf and of Gabriel L’Alemant were martyred by the Iroquois Indians in what is now upstate New York. They died what some consider the most gruesome death of just about any martyr. They were tortured unspeakably for hours, and because St. Jean kept speaking of God during his torture they cut off his lips, and cut out his tongue and rammed a red hot poker down his throat. They baptised him with boiling water. He suffered many, many more things than that. He longed for martyrdom, and said when it happened to him that he wouldn’t be thinking about himself. He would only be thinking of God. He never cried out! They finally cut out his heart and ate it to gain his courage.
There are two modern day martyr’s. Jerzy Popiełuszko a Polish priest that was murdered in the mid 80’s and the process for his beatification was begun in 1997.
Bishop Oscar Romero was martyred in 1980.
Bl. Miguel Augustin Pro, Mexican martyr for the Faith:
Oh, I just thought of a fast way to make a list. If you have a Catholic calendar lying around somewhere you can go through it and all the saints whose feasts are listed in red are martyrs. The ones who are bolded or capitalized (or whatever method the calendar uses to highlight certain saints) will be the more prominent saints. That strategy would give you a good-sized list pretty quickly - you’d just have to read up on them yourself.
St. Peter. Takes real guts to be crucified upside down.
I had a friend that loved the movie “Man for All Seasons” and he listed Thomas More as one of his favorite saints…then he realized that the reasons he loved St. Thomas was not for his devout, obedient, and pious character - it was instead that More was such a wonderful mind. How he was able to negotiate the landmines of his situation so aptly until the end. And I’m sure we can all see that a savy mind and witty speech aren’t the best reason to follow a Saint.
This is not to take anything from St. Thomas More, nor from your appreciation of him, just sharing a bit of a blunder my friend had shared.
There are of course still many very pious reasons that one should imitate More’s life and actions.
Pope John Paul II canonized the 117 Martyrs of Vietnam (or Annam) on June 19,1988. Their feastday is November 24.
The Georgia martyrs. You can read about them here: