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On The Pope’s Canonization Of The Otranto Martyrs


From The London Daily Mail:

Pope Francis today proclaimed hundreds of 15th-century martyrs beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam as saints of the Catholic Church, as he led his first canonization ceremony in a packed St. Peter’s Square.

The ‘Martyrs of Otranto’ were 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands to renounce Christianity by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel.

The BBC report mentions something that The Daily Mail report only implies [tip of the fedora to Robert Spencer]:

They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.


From Wikipedia [emphasis mine]:

On 28 July 1480 an Ottoman force commanded by Gedik Ahmed Pasha, consisting of 90 galleys, 40 galiots and other ships carrying a total of around 150 crew and 18,000 troops, landed beneath the walls of Otranto. The city strongly resisted the Ottoman assaults, but the garrison was unable to resist the bombardment for long. The garrison and all the townsfolk thus abandoned the main part of the city on 29 July, retreating into the citadel whilst the Ottomans began bombarding the neighbouring houses.

When Gedik Ahmed asked the defenders to surrender, they refused, and so the Ottoman artillery resumed the bombardment. On 11 August, after a 15-day siege, Gedik Ahmed ordered the final assault, which broke through the defences and captured the citadel. In the massacre which followed, all men over 15 years old were killed and all the women and children were enslaved. According to some historical accounts, a total of 12,000 were killed and 5,000 enslaved, including victims from the territories of the Salentine peninsula around the city.

Some survivors and the city’s clergy took refuge in the cathedral to pray with their elderly archbishop Stefano Pendinelli. Gedik Ahmed ordered them to convert to Islam, but received a flat refusal and so broke into the cathedral with his men and killed all those inside. This included Pendinelli, who encouraged the survivors to turn to God at the point of death but was skewered and cut to pieces with scimitars before having his head cut off, put on a pike and carried round the city. Gedik Ahmed then turned the cathedral into a stable and sawed the garrison commander Francesco Largo to pieces whilst still alive.

The townsfolk’s leader was now the old tailor Antonio Pezzulla, known as Il Primaldo, who also refused to convert to Islam. On 14 August Gedik Ahmed tied up the survivors and transported them to the nearby Colle della Minerva, where at least 800 were beheaded, with their parents and families forced to assist in and attend the executions. Primaldo was the first to be beheaded – tradition holds that his decapitated body remained standing until the final person was beheaded, despite his executioners’ efforts to push him over. The Chronicles record that an Ottoman Turk called Bersabei saw how bravely the Otrantines were dying, converted to Christianity and was impaled by his own comrades.

The eight hundred that were beheaded are the ones who were declared Saints by Pope Francis yesterday.


…On 6 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree recognising that Primaldo and his fellow townsfolk were killed “out of hatred for their faith”. On 20 December 2012 Benedict gave a private audience to cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate a decree regarding the miracle of the healing of sister Francesca Levote, attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Antonio Primaldo and his Companions Martyrs

People murdered out of hatred for the Catholic Faith are Martyrs in the eyes of The Church.


-Robert Spencer quotes from a reader of his named Bob:

Otranto certainly demonstrates several things.

1. Muslim violence is not a result of poverty, Jews, Israel, or US policy and actions.

2. There is a centuries-long tradition of Muslim beheading. It didn’t start with Daniel Pearl.

3. Muslim attacks on Copts in Egypt are in keeping with centuries-long Muslim traditions

4. Christian martyrs are Christians killed by others. Muslim martyrs are Muslims who kill non-Muslims [and are killed in the process].

Beheading — it’s a Muslim thing [you wouldn’t understand].


From The Daily Mail again [emphasis mine]:

The Vatican seemed at pains not to allow the first canonisations of Francis’ two-month-old papacy to be interpreted as anti-Islamic, saying the deaths of the ‘Otranto Martyrs’ must be understood in their historical context.

I wonder if the pains felt by those Vatican officials are as intense as those felt by the Martyrs Of Otranto? Or by the Copts in Egypt? Or Christians and Jews in any Muslim country, for that matter?

As far as I can see, the context is this: The Koran demands that Muslims offer non-Muslims a choice to either convert or die, so, when Islam conquers any group of Infidels, they murder any of those who will not convert. Now, it should be mentioned that some, shall we say, ‘less zealous’ Mohammedins do provide a third option — slavery — but that’s up to the whim of the conquering rulers.

One can slightly understand why the diplomats at The Vatican would want to be careful in this matter: Catholics across the Islamic World are been harassed and murdered for their faith. However, perhaps now is the time, Cardinals, to make a stand for Christians and Jews, to proclaim to the murderous Mohammedin bastards that their actions will not be tolerated, that the civilized world will do everything in it’s power to expose these murders and defeat those who perpetrate them.

There is a time for diplomacy and there is a point where it ends up serving the enemy. This point was reached some time ago.

If the conscience of over one billion of the faithful will not stand-up to the barbarous butchering descendants of Mohammed, then, perhaps, The West is done.

Jihad Watch commentator Jan remarks:

[BBC Report] ”There was no hint of any anti-Islamic sentiment in the homily that Pope Francis delivered before tens of thousands of worshippers gathered in St Peter’s Square … ”

No? Well there damn well *should* have been. When are we going to get some leaders, both spiritual and secular, with moral and physical courage, spine, to stand up and say what must be said? To do what must be done?

Or is it going to be left to the ordinary people in every country, again, like the murdered of Otranto?

Sadly, tragically [using it’s real definition], the answer appears to be a mournful ‘Yes’.

Could This Be One Explanation?

[Originally published on 13 May 2013]

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