Martyrs of Nagasaki: Feb 6


Article is reproduced from : Nagasaki Article

Nagasaki, the City of the Atomic Bomb – And of the Christian Martyrs
There are 188 of them, from four centuries ago, and they will be beatified in one year. In the same city in which, on a single day in 1945, two thirds of the Catholics in Japan were killed. Was this a deliberate decision?

by Sandro Magister
ROMA, October 30, 2007 – In the volume of cardinal Giacomo Biffi’s memoirs, on sale in bookstores as of today, there is one passage, concerning Japan, that ends with an open question.

It is where Biffi recalls the strong impact he felt in 1945 from the news of the atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima on August 6, and on Nagasaki on August 9.

He writes:

“I had already heard about Nagasaki. I had come across it repeatedly in the ‘History manual of the Catholic missions’ by Giuseppe Schmidlin, three volumes published in Milan in 1929. Nagasaki had produced the first substantial Catholic community in Japan, in the sixteenth century. In Nagasaki, on February 5, 1597, thirty-six martyrs (six missionary Franciscans, three Japanese Jesuits, and twenty-seven laymen) gave their lives for Christ. They were canonized by Pius IX in 1862. When the persecution was resumed in 1637, no fewer than thirty-five thousand Christians were killed. After this, the young community lived in the catacombs, so to speak, but it was not extinguished. In 1865, Fr. Petitjean discovered this ‘clandestine Church’, which revealed itself to him after it had verified that he was celibate, devoted to Mary, and obedient to the pope of Rome; thus the sacramental life could be resumed as normal. In 1889, complete religious freedom was proclaimed in Japan, and everything began flourishing again. On June 15, 1891, the diocese of Nagasaki was established canonically, and in 1927 it welcomed as its pastor Bishop Hayasaka, whom Pius XI himself had consecrated as the first Japanese bishop. It is from Schmidlin that we learn that in 1929, of the 94,096 Japanese Catholics, fully 63,698 were in Nagasaki.”

Having established this, cardinal Biffi concludes with a disturbing question:

“We can certainly assume that the atomic bombs were not dropped at random. So the question is inevitable: why is it that for the second slaughter, out of all the possibilities, that very city of Japan was chosen where Catholicism, apart from having its most glorious history, was also the most widespread and firmly established?”

* * *

In effect, among the victims of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, two thirds of the small but vibrant Japanese Catholic community disappeared in a single day. It was a community that was nearly wiped out twice in three centuries.

In 1945, this was done through an act of war that was mysteriously focused on this city. Three centuries before, it was by a terrible persecution very similar to that of the Roman empire against the first Christians, with Nagasaki and its “hill of martyrs” again the epicenter.

And yet, the Japanese Catholic community was able to recover from both of these tragedies. After the persecution in the seventeenth century, Christians kept their faith alive by passing it on from parents to children for two centuries, in the absence of bishops, priests, and sacraments. It is recounted that on Good Friday of 1865, ten thousand of these “kakure kirisitan,” hidden Christians, streamed from the villages and presented themselves in Nagasaki to the stunned missionaries who had just recently regained access to Japan.

And again after the second slaughter in Nagasaki, in 1945, the Catholic Church was reborn in Japan. The most recent official data, from 2004, estimate that there are a little more than half a million Japanese Catholics. They are few in relation to a population of 126 million. But they are respected and influential, thanks in part to their solid network of schools and universities.

Moreover, if to the native Japanese are added the immigrants from other Asian countries, the number of Catholics doubles. A 2005 report from the commission for migrants of the bishops’ conference calculates that the total number of Catholics recently passed one million, for the first time in the history of Japan.

* * *

This background sheds new light on a decree authorized by Benedict XVI on June 1, 2007: the beatification of 188 martyrs from Japan, who join the 42 saints and 395 blesseds – all martyrs – already raised to the altars by previous popes.

The beatification – the first one ever held in Japan – will be celebrated on November 24, 2008, in Nagasaki, by the prefect of the congregation for the causes of saints, cardinal José Saraiva Martins, as the special envoy of Benedict XVI.

The 188 Japanese martyrs who will be beatified next year are classified in the documents of the canonical proceedings as “Father Kibe and his 187 companions.” They were killed on account of their faith between 1603 and 1639.

Peter Kibe Kasui was born in 1587, the year in which the royal deputy in Nagasaki, the shogun Hideyoshi, released an edict ordering the foreign missionaries to leave the country. Ten years later, the persecutions began.

At that time, there were about 300 thousand Catholics in Japan, evangelized first by saint Francis Xavier and the Jesuits, and then by others including the Franciscans.

In February of 1614, another edict imposed the closing of the Catholic churches, and the confinement in Nagasaki of all the remaining priests, both foreign and local.

In November of that same year, the priests and laymen who led the community were forced into exile. Kibe went first to Macao, and then to Rome.

He was ordained a priest on November 15, 1620, and after completing the novitiate in Lisbon, he made his first vows as a Jesuit on June 6, 1622.

He returned to Japan among the Catholics subjected to cruel persecution, and in 1639 he was captured in Sendai, together with two other priests. He was tortured for ten straight days, but refused to give in. And he was martyred in Edo, which is present-day Tokyo.

One of his 187 companions in martyrdom, most of whom were laymen, was Michael Kusurya, called the “good Samaritan of Nagasaki.” He climbed the “hill of the martyrs,” a little outside the city, singing psalms. He died, like many, tied to the stake and burned at a slow fire.

Another of the soon-to-be blesseds was Nicholas Keian Fukunaga. He died after being thrown into a muddy well, where he prayed in a loud voice until the very end, asking forgiveness “for not having brought Christ to all the Japanese, beginning with the shogun.”

Other martyrs were killed by being nailed to crosses or cut to pieces, with unheard-of cruelties that did not spare women or children. Apart from the killings, the Catholic community was decimated by the apostasies of those who renounced their faith out of fear. And yet, it was not wiped out. Part of it went into hiding and kept the faith until the arrival, two centuries later, of a more liberal regime.

Last September, the diocese of Takamatsu dedicated a symposium to yet another of the 188 martyrs who will be beatified in 2008, the Jesuit Diego Ryosetsu Yuki, the descendent of a family of shoguns.

One of the speakers, professor Shinzo Kawamura from the Jesuits’ Sophia University in Tokyo, showed that the undaunted strength with which so many Catholics at that time resisted torture and faced martyrdom came, in part, from the communitarian spirit with which they supported each other in the faith. They had modeled themselves to some extent on the Buddhist communities of Jodo Shinshu, of the Pure Land school. “The kumi, the communities of the kirisitan, were the terrain on which the 188 martyrs blossomed. The Church in Japan at that time was a true Church of the people.”

On the new book by cardinal Giacomo Biffi, from which the citation that opens this article was taken:

> Before the Last Conclave: “What I Told the Future Pope” (26.10.2007)

The online newspaper, in English, of the Japanese bishops’ conference, with continually updated news on the beatification of the 188 martyrs:

> Japan Catholic News

English translation by Matthew Sherry, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.

The Gothic Bible

In the fourth century CE, while the Goths were living in the the north eastern areas of Europe (in current day Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine), a missionary named Wulfila brought them the Bible in their own gothic language. The text of this Gothic Bible, attests to early forms of the German language, which bears some resemblance to Old English.
Below is reproduced Mark 16, in Gothic, Greek, and English. For more about the Gothic Bible, go to the Wulfila project, linked here:
Mark 16:1
CA  jah inwisandins sabbate dagis Marja so Magdalene jah Marja so Iakobis jah Salome usbauhtedun aromata, ei atgaggandeins gasalbodedeina ina.
— καὶ διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου μαρία ἡ μαγδαληνὴ καὶ μαρία ἡ [τοῦ] ἰακώβου καὶ σαλώμη ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν αὐτόν.
— And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Mark 16:2
CA  jah filu air þis dagis afarsabbate atiddjedun du þamma hlaiwa at urrinnandin sunnin.
— καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου.
— And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Mark 16:3
CA  jah qeþun du sis misso: hvas afwalwjai unsis þana stain af daurom þis hlaiwis?
— καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς, τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου;
— And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
Mark 16:4
CA  jah insaihvandeins gaumidedun þammei afwalwiþs ist sa stains; was auk mikils abraba.
— καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος, ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα.
— And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
Mark 16:5
CA  jah atgaggandeins in þata hlaiw gasehvun juggalauþ sitandan in taihswai biwaibidana wastjai hveitai; jah usgeisnodedun.
— καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν.
— And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
Mark 16:6
CA  þaruh qaþ du im: ni faurhteiþ izwis, Iesu sokeiþ Nazoraiu þana ushramidan; nist her, urrais, sai þana staþ þarei galagidedun ina.
— ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς, μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε: ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον: ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε: ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν.
— And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
Mark 16:7
CA  akei gaggiþ qiþiduh du siponjam is jah du Paitrau þatei faurbigaggiþ izwis in Galeilaian; þaruh ina gasaihviþ, swaswe qaþ izwis.
— ἀλλὰ ὑπάγετε εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ πέτρῳ ὅτι προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν γαλιλαίαν: ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν.
— But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
Mark 16:8
CA  jah usgaggandeins af þamma hlaiwa gaþlauhun; dizuh~þan~sat ijos reiro jah usfilmei, jah ni qeþun mannhun waiht; ohtedun sis auk.
— καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις: καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν, ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.
— And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
Mark 16:9
CA  usstandands þan in maurgin frumin sabbato ataugida <sik> frumist Marjin þizai Magdalene, af þizaiei uswarp sibun unhulþons.
— [[ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον μαρίᾳ τῇ μαγδαληνῇ, παρ’ ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια.
— Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Mark 16:10
CA  soh gaggandei gataih þaim miþ imma wisandam, qainondam jah gretandam.
— ἐκείνη πορευθεῖσα ἀπήγγειλεν τοῖς μετ’ αὐτοῦ γενομένοις πενθοῦσι καὶ κλαίουσιν:
— And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
Mark 16:11
CA  jah eis hausjandans þatei libaiþ jah gasaihvans warþ fram izai, ni galaubidedun.
— κἀκεῖνοι ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ζῇ καὶ ἐθεάθη ὑπ’ αὐτῆς ἠπίστησαν.
— And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
Mark 16:12
CA  afaruh þan þata ….
Speyer  …. twaim ize ataugiþs warþ in anþaramma farwa, gaggandam du wehsa:
— μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν:
— After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
Mark 16:13
Speyer  jah jainai galeiþandans gataihun þaim anþaraim; niþ~þaim galaubidedun.
— κἀκεῖνοι ἀπελθόντες ἀπήγγειλαν τοῖς λοιποῖς: οὐδὲ ἐκείνοις ἐπίστευσαν.
— And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
Mark 16:14
Speyer  bi spedistin þan anakumbjandam þaim ainlibim ataugida, jah idweitida ungalaubein ize jah harduhairtein, unte þaim gasaihvandam ina urrisanana, ni galaubidedun.
— ὕστερον [δὲ] ἀνακειμένοις αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἕνδεκα ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ὠνείδισεν τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν καὶ σκληροκαρδίαν ὅτι τοῖς θεασαμένοις αὐτὸν ἐγηγερμένον οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν.
— Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
Mark 16:15
Speyer  jah qaþ du im: gaggandans in þo manaseþ alakjo, merjaiþ þo aiwaggeljon allai þizai gaskaftai.
— καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, πορευθέντες εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει.
— And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16
Speyer  jah sa galaubjands ufdaupiþs ganisiþ; saei ni galaubeiþ, afdomjada.
— ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθεὶς σωθήσεται, ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται.
— He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:17
Speyer  aþþan taikns þaim galaubjandam þata afargaggiþ: in namin meinamma unhulþons uswairpand: razdom rodjand niujaim,
— σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει: ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν, γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς,
— And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mark 16:18
Speyer  waurmans nimand, jah jabai ingibe hva drigkaina, ni þauh im agljai; ana unhailans handuns uslagjand, jah waila wairþiþ im.
— [καὶ ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν] ὄφεις ἀροῦσιν, κἂν θανάσιμόν τι πίωσιν οὐ μὴ αὐτοὺς βλάψῃ, ἐπὶ ἀρρώστους χεῖρας ἐπιθήσουσιν καὶ καλῶς ἕξουσιν.
— They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16:19
Speyer  þanuh þan frauja Iesus afar þatei rodida du im, usnumans warþ in himin jah gasat af taihswon gudis.
— ὁ μὲν οὖν κύριος ἰησοῦς μετὰ τὸ λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς ἀνελήμφθη εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ.
— So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Mark 16:20
Speyer   jainai usgaggandans meridedun and allata miþ fraujin gawaurstwin jah þata waurd tulgjandin þairh þos afargaggandeins taiknins. amen.
— ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ἐξελθόντες ἐκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ, τοῦ κυρίου συνεργοῦντος καὶ τὸν λόγον βεβαιοῦντος διὰ τῶν ἐπακολουθούντων σημείων.]]
— And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Speyer  Aiwaggeljo þairh Marku ustauh. wulþus þus weiha guþ. amen.

| | xml

16 Crucified Saviors

See link: CrucifiedSaviors

Here’s a classic book in pdf, written about a hundred years ago. Though the methodology of this study has been critiqued, its intentions and impulses are sincere and constructive: to demonstrate the universal teachings and symbols within various religions, globally, from the east and the west, the south and the north, and to dismantle barriers of dogma and difference that cause suspicion and animosity.


Japanese Jesus Last Supper