lundi 6 février 2012

Saint PAUL MIKI et ses Compagnons Martyrs

Saint Paul Miki et ses Compagnons Martyrs († 1597)

[En Belgique, cette mémoire est reportée au 7 février]

Une des plus dures persécutions qu'aient essuyées les chrétiens du Japon est celle de Taicosama.

La mission du Japon avait débuté avec succès en 1549 avec saint François-Xavier, mais en 1582 l'empereur voulut faire partir les Jésuites, considérés par certains comme un danger national. La méfiance s'accrut encore lorsqu'une quinzaine de Franciscains débarquèrent en 1593 et construisirent deux couvents, prêchèrent et baptisèrent de nombreux Japonais. L'empereur du Japon ordonna en 1596 d'arrêter tous les missionnaires qu'on trouverait et de les mettre à mort. Ainsi furent arrêtés six franciscains ; trois jésuites dont Paul Miki et dix-sept laïcs tertiaires franciscains. Ils furent exposés de ville en ville pendant des semaines à la vindicte populaire afin de faire un exemple. L'empereur les envoya alors à Nagasaki où il avait fait dresser 26 croix sur lesquelles ils furent crucifiés face à la mer.

Ces vingt-six martyrs étaient :

Trois Jésuites :

Paul Miki, frère jésuite, fils d'un général, premier jésuite japonais et grand prédicateur,
Jean Soan (de Goto), frère jésuite japonais ,
Jacques Kisoï, frère jésuite japonais.

Six Franciscains :

Pierre Baptiste de Saint-Esteban, prêtre espagnol, chef de la mission franciscaine au Japon,
Martin d'Aguirré, prêtre espagnol, professeur de théologie,
François Blanco, prêtre espagnol,
Philippe de Las Casas, mexicain, frère convers,
Gonzalve Garcia, des Indes Orientales, frère convers,
François de Saint-Michel, frère convers.

Dix-sept laïcs Tertiaires Franciscains, tous japonais et membres de la communauté de Méaco :

Côme Tachegia,
Michel et Thomas Cozaki,
Paul Ibarki,
Léon Carasumo (catéchiste et interprète),
Mathias,
Bonaventure,
Joachim Saccakibara (médecin),
François de Méaco (médecin),
Thomas Dauki (interprète),
Jean Kinoia,
Gabriel de Duisco,
Paul Suzuki (catéchiste et interprète),
François Danto et
Pierre Sukejiro
Louis (11 ans) et
Antoine (13 ans).

Du haut de sa croix, Paul Miki continuait à prêcher pardonnant à ses bourreaux et invitant à la conversion : « Arrivé au terme où vous me voyez, dit-il, je ne pense pas qu'aucun de vous me croie capable de trahir la vérité. Eh bien ! Je vous le déclare, il n'y a pas d'autre moyen de salut que la religion chrétienne. Je pardonne aux auteurs de ma mort ; je les conjure de recevoir le baptême. » Un autre, suspendu à une croix, n'osait se servir que des paroles du bon larron : « Seigneur, souvenez-vous de moi ! » Les enfants ne furent pas moins admirables. Louis, répondit à un païen qui l'engageait à renoncer à sa foi : « C'est vous qui devriez vous faire chrétien, puisqu'il n'y a pas d'autre moyen de salut. » Antoine, résista aux larmes de ses parents et aux promesses du magistrat : « Je méprise, dit-il, vos promesses et la vie elle-même : je désire d'être attaché à la croix pour l'amour de Jésus crucifié. » Du haut de sa croix, il chanta d'une voix angélique le psaume : Laudate, pueri, Dominum, Enfants, louez le Seigneur, et il eut le cœur percé d'une lance au Gloria Patri, qu'il alla chanter dans le Ciel.

Ils furent tous achevés d'un coup de lance dans le cœur. Les fidèles recueillirent le sang et les vêtements des martyrs, dont l'attouchement opéra des miracles.

Pie IX les a canonisés le 8 juin 1862, dans une solennité sans exemple, au milieu d'un grand concours d'évêques de toutes les parties du monde.

Ce furent les premiers martyrs du Japon.

SOURCE :
http://levangileauquotidien.org/main.php?language=FR&module=saintfeast&localdate=20120206&id=13695&fd=0


Saint Paul Miki et ses compagnons martyrs

Si le nom de Nagasaki évoque pour le monde entier la déflagration atomique du 9 août 1945, il doit aussi rappeler aux catholiques les vingt-six croix dressées face à la mer, le 5 février 1597. Ces vingt-six crucifiés reproduisaient l’image de la nouvelle chrétienté japonaise : il y avait là des missionnaires[1], trois jésuites[2] dont Paul Miki qui était japonais, et six franciscains[3] , dix-sept laïcs, tertiaires franciscains [4], et même deux enfants : Louis (onze ans) et Antoine (treize ans). Alors qu’ils étaient attachés à leur croix, le R.P. Pierre Baptiste chanta le Benedictus et le petit Antoine entonna le Laudate pueri Dominum. Du haut de sa croix, saint Paul Miki continuait à prêcher, invitant les gens qui l’entouraient à se convertir et pardonnant à ceux qui étaient responsables de sa mort. Tous étaient souriants, plusieurs chantaient. On leur transperça le cœur d’un coup de lance, ce qui achevait de les configurer au Christ. Urbain VIII les béatifia en 1627 et Pie IX les canonisa le 8 juin 1862.

[1] Les Jésuites et les Franciscains ont été arrêtés à Ozaka le 9 décembre 1596.

[2] Paul Miki, Jean de Goto et Jacques Kisoï.

[3] Pierre Baptiste, chef de la mission franciscaine au Japon, qui, un jour de Pentecôte, avait guéri une jeune fille lépreuse ; Martin d’Aguire, professeur de théologie qui prêchait en japonais ; François Blanco, prêtre ; Philippe de Las Casas ; Gonzales Garcia, frère convers ; François de Saint-Michel, frère convers.

[4] Tous membres de la communauté de Méaco, ils furent arrêtés le 31 décembre 1596 : Côme Tachegia, Michel et Thomas Cozaki, Paul Ibarki, Léon Carasumo (catéchiste et interprète), Mathias, Bonaventure, Joachim Saccakibara (mèdecin), François de Méaco (médecin), Thomas Dauki (interprète), Jean Kinoia, Gabriel de Duisco, Paul Suzuki (catéchiste et interprète) ; François Danto et Pierre Sukejiro n’étaient pas sur la liste des arrestations mais, comme ils s’obstinaient à suivre les prisonniers et à les soigner, ils furent arrêtés à leur tour.



Johannes Bitterich, Statue deSaint Paul Miki, église Saint-Martin de Bamberg

Saint Paul Miki et ses compagnons (*)

martyrs au Japon (+ 1597)

Sur les traces de saint François Xavier, les pères Jésuites et les frères franciscains avaient profondément enraciné le christianisme dans le sol japonais. Ecoles, paroisses, hospices et léproseries témoignaient de la vigueur de cette jeune Eglise. Mais, à cette date, le Japon est en proie à des bouleversements politiques importants. Le shogun Taïcosama cherche à unifier le pays en limitant l'influence des daïmios locaux. Il veut aussi limiter l'influence des étrangers au Japon. Or le christianisme est une importation étrangère : le shogun s'en prend donc aux chrétiens. En 1587, les missionnaires sont expulsés, le christianisme interdit. Celui-ci s'enfouit et devient clandestin. Dix ans plus tard la persécution reprend de plus belle. En février 1597, vingt-six chrétiens sont arrêtés : des jésuites, des franciscains, des laïcs tertiaires de saint François, des enfants de chœur...

Parmi eux, Paul Miki, premier jésuite japonais et prédicateur passionné. On les promène de ville en ville, pour l'exemple, pour dissuader ceux qui seraient tentés d'embrasser la religion interdite. Torturés, les martyrs continuent à prêcher et à chanter pendant leurs supplices avant de finir crucifiés sur une colline proche de Nagasaki, face à l'Occident, comme pour narguer cet horizon d'où venait le christianisme.

Voir aussi: Saints Paul Miki, Jean Soan (de Goto) et Jacques Kisai sur le site internet des jésuites et sur le calendrier des Franciscains Saints Pierre-Baptiste, Paul Miki et leurs compagnons.

(*) Jean Soan de Goto, Jacques Kisai, religieux jésuites; Pierre-Baptiste Blazquez, Martin de l’Ascension Aguirre, François Blanco, prêtres franciscains; Philippe de Jésus de Las Casas, Gonzalve Garcia, François de Saint-Michel de la Parilla, religieux franciscains; Léon Karasuma, Pierre Sukejiro, Côme Takeya, Paul Ibaraki, Thomas Dangi, interprête, Paul Suzuki, catéchistes; Louis Ibaraki (11ans), Antoine (13 ans), Michel Kozaki et son fils Thomas; Bonaventure, Gabriel, Jean Kinuya, Matthias, François de Méako, médecin, Joachim Sakakibara, médecin, François Danto, néophytes.

Au martyrologe romain au 5 février: À Nagasaki au Japon, en 1597, la passion de saint Paul Miki et vingt-cinq compagnons, dont la mémoire est célébrée le lendemain donc le 6 février.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/580/Saint-Paul-Miki.html

Saint Paul Miki et ses compagnons, martyrs

Sur les traces de saint François Xavier, les pères Jésuites et les frères franciscains avaient profondément enraciné le christianisme dans le sol japonais. Ecoles, paroisses, hospices et léproseries témoignaient de la vigueur de cette jeune Eglise. Mais, à cette date, le Japon est en proie à des bouleversements politiques importants. Le shogun Taïcosama cherche à unifier le pays en limitant l'influence des daïmios locaux. Il veut aussi limiter l'influence des étrangers au Japon. Or le christianisme est une importation étrangère : le shogun s'en prend donc aux chrétiens. En 1587, les missionnaires sont expulsés, le christianisme interdit. Celui-ci s'enfouit et devient clandestin. Dix ans plus tard la persécution reprend de plus belle. Le 5 février 1597, vingt-six chrétiens furent arrêtés ; il y avait parmi eux des missionnaires européens, jésuites et franciscains, mais aussi des religieux japonais, tel Paul Miki, premier jésuite japonais et prédicateur passionné et dix-sept laïcs : des catéchistes, des interprètes, deux médecins, et même des enfants. Tous étaient souriants, plusieurs chantaient. On les promène de ville en ville, pour l'exemple, pour dissuader ceux qui seraient tentés d'embrasser la religion interdite. Torturés, les martyrs continuent à prêcher et à chanter pendant leurs supplices avant de finir crucifiés sur une colline proche de Nagasaki, face à l'Occident, comme pour narguer cet horizon d'où venait le christianisme.

Parmi eux, comment ne pas citer les enfants de chœur Antoine Deynan et Louis Ibachi, ce jeune japonais de douze ans, crucifiés pour avoir courageusement affirmé leur foi et leur amour du Christ. 
  


Les Saints Martyrs du Japon

(† 1597)

Lorsque saint François-Xavier parut au Japon, cet empire était plongé tout entier dans le paganisme; quarante ans plus tard, on y comptait plus de deux cent mille chrétiens, généralement animés de toute la ferveur de l'Église primitive. Le démon, jaloux, ne tarda pas à soulever une persécution; elle fut terrible, mais ne servit qu'à faire éclater les merveilles de la foi.

La liste des premiers martyrs du Japon en comprend vingt-six: six Franciscains, trois Jésuites, et dix-sept chrétiens, dont trois jeunes enfants de choeur. Leurs noms sont : Paul Miki – François Fahelente – Pierre Sukégiro – Come Tachégia – Michel Cozaki – Jacques Kisaï – Paul Ibarki – Jean de Goto – Louis – Antoine – Pierre-Baptiste – Martin de l'Ascension – Philippe de Jésus – François Blanco – François de Saint-Michel – Mathias – Léon Carasumaro – Bonaventure – Thomas Cosaki – Joachim Saccakibara – François de Méaco – Jean Kimoia – Gabriel de Dcisco – Paul Suzuki – Thomas Danki – Gonçalo Garcia. Les Actes des martyrs des trois premiers siècles ne sont pas plus admirables que le récit des souffrances de ces héros de la foi.

Un des religieux, près de mourir, disait, en parlant de la magnanimité de ces chrétiens: "J'ai honte de moi-même, en voyant des hommes si récemment entrés dans le sein de l'Église montrer un tel courage en face de la mort."

Un autre, suspendu à une croix, n'osait se servir que des paroles du bon larron: "Seigneur, souvenez-Vous de moi!"

Un pieux Jésuite, crucifié, fit une prédication touchante, du haut de sa glorieuse chaire, aux païens qui l'entouraient: "Arrivé au terme où vous me voyez, dit-il, je ne pense pas qu'aucun de vous me croie capable de trahir la vérité. Eh bien! Je vous le déclare, il n'y a pas d'autre moyen de salut que la religion chrétienne. Je pardonne aux auteurs de ma mort; je les conjure de recevoir le baptême."

Les trois enfants ne furent pas moins admirables. L'un d'eux, nommé Louis, répondit à un païen qui l'engageait à renoncer à sa foi: "C'est vous qui devriez vous faire chrétien, puisqu'il n'y a pas d'autre moyen de salut."

Un autre nommé Antoine, résista aux larmes de ses parents et aux promesses du magistrat: "Je méprise, dit-il, vos promesses et la vie elle-même: je désire d'être attaché à la croix pour l'amour de Jésus crucifié." Du haut de sa croix, il chanta d'une voix angélique le psaume: Laudate, pueri, Dominum, Enfants, louez le Seigneur, et il eut le coeur percé d'une lance au Gloria Patri, qu'il alla chanter dans le Ciel.

Les fidèles recueillirent le sang et les vêtements des martyrs, dont l'attouchement opéra des miracles. Pie IX les a canonisés le 8 juin 1862, dans une solennité sans exemple, au milieu d'un grand concours d'évêques de toutes les parties du monde.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/les_saints_martyrs_du_japon.html


SAINT PAUL MIKI AND COMPANIONS

MARTYRS OF JAPAN

FEAST DAY: FEBRUARY 6TH

Paul Miki was born at Tounucumada in Japan. He was educated in a Jesuit seminary and he joined the Society of Jesus in 1580. He became a great preacher and evangelist of the Catholic faith in Japan. He along with twenty five other Catholics were arrested by Japanese government officials for preaching the Catholic faith. They were taken to a hill called Nishizaka near Nagasaki, Japan. All were bound to crosses, which were erected on the hill and then they were murdered by being pierced in the abdomens with lances. These holy martyrs were canonized on Pentecost Sunday in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.


Martyrs of Japan (RM)

Died at Nagasaki, Japan, 1597; beatified in 1627; canonized in 1862; feast day formerly February 5.

Christianity was probably first brought to Japan in 1549 by the much beloved Saint Francis Xavier. When he left Japan after a stay of a few years, there were about 2,000 converts. Within the next 50 years the community grew even larger. It is said that by 1587 there were over 200,000 Christians, which caused the feudal lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor, consternation which grew into anger. In 1587, he ordered all missionaries to leave within six months. Some obeyed, but many remained behind in disguise.

As noted in the story of Philip de las Casas, this persecution was touched off by the irresponsible bragging of a Spanish sea captain in 1596 meeting the already provoked Hideyoshi, who was furious at the success of the Christian missionaries. The sailor had remarked that the object of the missionaries was to ease the conquest of Japan by Portugal or Spain.

Of the numerous Christian martyrs in Japan the canonization of this group of 26 has been completed. Six of them were European Franciscan missionaries led by the Spanish Saint Peter Baptist. Among the others were a Japanese Jesuit priest, Saint Paul Miki, and a Korean layman, Saint Leo Karasumaru. There were also 18 Japanese laymen, of whom three were young acolytes.

Of these martyrs, 24 had been brought to Miyako, where only a part of their left ears were cut off by mitigation of the sentence which called for the severing of both ears and nose. Thereafter, they were led through various towns, their cheeks stained with blood, in order to cause other Christians to apostatize. (The severed ears were displayed in still other towns to terrify others.) When they arrived at the place of execution on a hill in Nagasaki, they were allowed to make their confession to two Jesuits.

They were killed simultaneously by a sort of crucifixion. First they were bound or chained to crosses on the ground, with an iron collar around their necks. The crosses were then planted in a row about four feet apart and each saint was and then stabbed with a spear by his own executioner. Their blood and garments were procured by Christians, and miracles were attributed to them. The rest of the missionaries were deported, except for another 28 priests who stayed behind in disguise.

From their canonization until the revision of the Roman calendar in 1970, their feast was celebrated only in Japan and by the Franciscans and Jesuits. Now they are remembered universally as the first martyrs of the Far East. Others, not yet canonized, were martyred in 1617, 1622, 1624, 1629, and 1632. This group includes:
  • Antony Deynan, born at Nagasaki, was a 13-year-old altar boy and a Franciscan tertiary.
  • Bonaventure of Miyako (Meaco), OFM Tert., a Japanese native who became a Franciscan tertiary and catechist. (He may only have been beatified and isn't included in the group of 26 who were canonized).
  • Caius Francis, OFM Tert., was a Japanese soldier who had only recently been baptized and received as a Franciscan tertiary. He insisted on being arrested with the friars.
  • Cosmas Takeya (Tachegia, Zaquira), OFM Tert., a lay Franciscan from Owari, Japan, who served the Franciscan missionaries as interpreter and preached in Osaka.
  • Diego (James) Kisai (Kizayemon), SJ, a Japanese layman who was the temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits and a catechist in Osaka. Like John Gotto, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus while he was imprisoned, just before his death at age 64.
  • Francis Blanco, OFM, a native of Monterey, Galicia, Spain. He studied in Salamanca, and was professed as a Franciscan at Vallalpando. He first labored as a missionary at Churubusco, Mexico, and in 1594, he migrated from Manila to Japan.
  • Francis of Miyako (of Nagasaki), OFM Tert., was a Japanese physician from Miyako, who later in life was converted to Catholicism by the Franciscan missionaries in Japan and became a tertiary and lay catechist.
  • Francis of Saint Michael, OFM, was born at Parilla (near Valladolid), Spain. He joined the Franciscans as a lay brother and was sent from the Philippines to Japan as a missionary. He was arrested in Osaka with his companion Saint Peter Baptist, in 1596, and awaited execution the following year.
  • Gabriel de Duisco, OFM Tert., the 19-year-old son of the Franciscans' native porter.
  • Gundisalvus (Gonsalo) Garcia, OFM, born at Bassein near Bombay, India, in 1556 of Portuguese parents, although some claim that his parents were Indian converts who took Portuguese names. He first served the Jesuits as a catechist, then opened a flourishing business in Japan, and in 1591 joined the Franciscans as a lay brother in Manila, the Philippines. He returned to Japan as an interpreter to Saint Peter Baptist.
  • Joachim Sakakibara (Saccachibara), OFM Tert., the Japanese lay cook (another source says the physician) for the Franciscans at Osaka, who also served as a catechist.
  • John Soan de Goto, SJ, a 19-year-old native Japanese who was admitted to the Jesuits in prison shortly before his martyrdom. Prior to that he was a temporal-coadjutor of the Society of Jesus and catechist at Osaka.
  • John Kisaka (Kimoia), OFM Tert., a Japanese silk-weaver, born at Miyako. He was baptized and received into the third order shortly before his crucifixion.
  • Leo Karasumaru (Carasuma), a native of Korea, was a pagan priest prior to his conversion to Christianity. He was baptized by the Jesuits in Japan in 1589. He became the first Korean Franciscan tertiary and was the chief catechist for the friars. With him was crucified his brother Paul Ibaraki and their 12-year-old nephew Louis Ibaraki.
  • Louis Ibaraki (Ibarki) the 12-year-old nephew of Paul Ibaraki and Leo Karasumaru, who served as acolyte for the Franciscans.
  • Martin Loynaz (de Aguirre) of the Ascension, OFM, a native of Vergara near Pamplona, Spain. He studied in Alcala and became a Franciscan in 1586. He first worked as a missionary in Mexico, then Manila in the Philippines, and finally in Japan.
  • Matthias of Miyako, OFM Tert., a Japanese native, became a Franciscan tertiary.
  • Michael Cozaki was a Japanese catechist and hospital nurse to the Franciscan missionaries. He was martyred with his own son, Thomas.
  • Paul Ibaraki (Yuanki, Yuaniqui), OFM Tert., was the brother of Leo Karasumaru and a lay tertiary, interpreter, and catechist.
  • Paul Miki, SJ (born 1562, died at age 33), son of a Japanese military leader, was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college at Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. His last sermon was delivered from the cross on which he was martyred.
  • Paul Suzuki, OFM Tert. (born 1563), a native of Owari, Japan, was baptized by the Jesuits in 1584, became a Franciscan tertiary, and was an outstanding catechist until he, too, was crucified near Nagasaki.
  • Peter Baptist, OFM, (born 1545) was a native of Avila, Spain. He joined the Franciscans in 1567, worked as a missionary in Mexico, was sent to the Philippines in 1583, and on to Japan in 1593, where he served as commissary for the Franciscans. He had the gift of working miracles and is considered the leader of the Franciscan martyrs.
  • Peter Sukejiro (Xukexico), OFM Tert., a Japanese Franciscan tertiary who served as a catechist, house servant, and sacristan to the Franciscan missionaries. He was sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, and was then arrested.
  • Philip de las Casas, OFM.
  • Thomas Cozaki (Kasaki), a 15-year-old Japanese native, who served as acolyte and was martyred with his father, Michael.
  • Thomas Xico (Dauki), OFM Tert., a Japanese Franciscan tertiary, catechist, and interpreter to the missionaries.
  • Ventura, a Japanese layman from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh, White).

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching.
He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. In total, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on the hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.
Among the Japanese laymen who suffered the same fate were: Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan’s porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, who was then arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862.
While hanging upon a cross Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”
When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.

Sts. Peter Baptist and Twenty-Five Companions

Died at Nagasaki, 5 Feb., 1597. In 1593 while negotiations were pending between the Emperor of Japan and the Governor of the Philippine Islands, the latter sent Peter Baptist and several other Franciscans as his ambassadors to Japan. They were well received by the emperor, and were able to establish convents, schools, and hospitals, and effect many conversions. When on 20 Oct., 1596, a Spanish vessel of war, the "San Felipe", was stranded on the isle of Tosa, it became, according to Japanese custom, the property of the emperor. The captain was foolish enough to extol the power of the king, and said that the missionaries had been sent to prepare for the conquest of the country. The emperor became furious, and on 9 Dex., 1596, ordered the missionaries to be imprisoned. On 5 Feb., 1597, six friars belonging to the First Order St. Francis (Peter Baptist, Martin of the Ascension, Francis Blanco, priests; Philip of Jesus, cleric; Gonsalvo Garzia, Francis of St. Michael, laybrothers), three Japanese Jesuits (Paul Miki, John Goto, James Kisai) and seventeen native Franciscan Tertiaries were crucified. They were beatified 14 Sept., 1627, by Urban VIII, and canonized 8 June, 1862, by Pius IX

Sources

LEON, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of St. Francis, I (Taunton, 1885), 169-223; WADDING, Ann. Min., 98-104, 261-81; Acta SS., Feb., I, 79-770; INES, Cronica de la provincia de San Gregorio Magno de Religiosos Descalzos de N.S.P. San Francisco en las islas Filipinas, China, Japon etc., I (Manila, 1892); MARTINEZ, Compendio historico de la apostolica provincia de San Gregorio de Filipinas (Madrid, 1756); BOUIX, Histoire des 26 martyrs du Japon crucifiés a Nangasaqui (Paris, Lyons, 1682); DEPLACE, Le Catholicisme au Japon; II, L'Ere des Martyrs 1593-1660 (Brussels, 1909).

Heckmann, Ferdinand. "Sts. Peter Baptist and Twenty-Five Companions." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 6 Feb. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11755b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael T. Barrett. Dedicated to the memory of the Japanese martyrs.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11755b.htm

San Paolo Miki e compagni Martiri



Kyoto, Giappone, 1556 - Nagasaki, Giappone, 5 febbraio 1597

Nato a Kyoto nel 1556 in una famiglia benestante e battezzato a cinque anni, Paolo Miki entra in un collegio della Compagnia di Gesù e a 22 anni è novizio, il primo religioso cattolico giapponese. Diventa un esperto della religiosità orientale e viene destinato, con successo, alla predicazione, che comporta il dialogo con dotti buddhisti. Il cristianesimo è penetrato in Giappone nel 1549 con Francesco Saverio. Paolo Miki vive anni fecondi, percorrendo continuamente il Paese. Nel 1582-84 c'è la prima visita a Roma di una delegazione giapponese, autorizzata dallo Shogun Hideyoshi. Ma proprio Hideyoshi capovolge la politica verso i cristiani, diventando da tollerante a persecutore. Arrestato nel dicembre 1596 a Osaka, Paolo Miki trova in carcere tre gesuiti e sei francescani missionari, con 17 giapponesi terziari di San Francesco. E insieme a tutti loro viene crocifisso su un'altura presso Nagasaki. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Paolo = piccolo di statura, dal latino

Emblema: Palma

Martirologio Romano: Memoria dei santi Paolo Miki e compagni, martiri, a Nagasaki in Giappone. Con l’aggravarsi della persecuzione contro i cristiani, otto tra sacerdoti e religiosi della Compagnia di Gesù e dell’Ordine dei Frati Minori, missionari europei o nati in Giappone, e diciassette laici, arrestati, subirono gravi ingiurie e furono condannati a morte. Tutti insieme, anche i ragazzi, furono messi in croce in quanto cristiani, lieti che fosse stato loro concesso di morire allo stesso modo di Cristo.

(5 febbraio: A Nagasaki in Giappone, passione dei santi Paolo Miki e venticinque compagni, martiri, la cui memoria si celebra domani).

E' il primo giapponese accolto in un Ordine religioso cattolico: il primo gesuita. Nato in una famiglia benestante e battezzato a cinque anni, Paolo Miki entra poi in un collegio della Compagnia di Gesù, e a 22 anni è novizio. Riesce bene in tutto: solo lo studio del latino lo fa penare; troppo lontano dal suo modo nativo di parlare e di pensare. Diventa invece un esperto della religiosità orientale, cosicché viene destinato alla predicazione, che comporta il dialogo con dotti buddhisti. Riesce bene, ottiene conversioni; però, dice un francescano spagnolo, più efficaci della parola sono i suoi sentimenti affettuosi.

Il cristianesimo è penetrato in Giappone nel 1549 con Francesco Saverio, che vi è rimasto due anni, aprendo poi la via ad altri missionari, bene accolti dalla gente. Li lascia in pace anche lo Stato, in cui gli imperatori sopravvivono come simboli, mentre chi comanda è sempre lo Shogun, capo militare e politico. Paolo Miki vive anni attivi e fecondi, percorrendo continuamente il Paese. I cristiani diventano decine di migliaia. Nel 1582-84 c’è la prima visita a Roma di una delegazione giapponese, autorizzata dallo Shogun Hideyoshi, e lietamente accolta da papa Gregorio XIII.

Ma proprio Hideyoshi capovolge poi la politica verso i cristiani, facendosi persecutore per un complesso di motivi: il timore che il cristianesimo minacci l’unità nazionale, già indebolita dai feudatari; il comportamento offensivo e minaccioso di marinai cristiani (spagnoli) arrivati in Giappone; e anche i gravi dissidi tra gli stessi missionari dei vari Ordini in terra giapponese, tristi fattori di diffidenza. Un insieme di fatti e di sospetti che porterà a spietati eccidi di cristiani nel secolo successivo. Ma già al tempo di Hideyoshi, ecco una prima persecuzione locale, che coinvolge Paolo Miki. Arrestato nel dicembre 1596 a Osaka, trova in carcere tre gesuiti e sei francescani missionari, con 17 giapponesi terziari di San Francesco. E insieme a tutti loro egli viene crocifisso su un’altura presso Nagasaki. Prima di morire, tiene l’ultima predica, invitando tutti a seguire la fede in Cristo; e dà il suo perdono ai carnefici. Andando al supplizio, ripete le parole di Gesù in croce: "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum". Proprio così le dice: in quel latino che da giovane studiava con tanta fatica. Nel 1862, papa Pio IX lo proclamerà santo.

Nell’anno 1846, a Verona, un seminarista quindicenne legge il racconto di questo supplizio e ne riceve la prima forte spinta alla vita missionaria: è Daniele Comboni, futuro apostolo della “Nigrizia”, alla quale dedicherà vita e morte, tre secoli dopo san Paolo Miki.

Autore:
Domenico Agasso