The spread of Christianity into China began in the 600s, coming from Syria. Over the centuries, the circumstances of its growth were deeply influenced by China’s fluctuating relations with the outside world. At times, the religion experienced freedom and expansion, while in other periods, it was forced to operate in secrecy due to restrictions and persecution.

This narrative revolves around 120 Christian martyrs who lost their lives for their faith between 1648 and 1930. The majority of these martyrs, 87 to be exact, were native to China. They came from various walks of life – some were children, others were parents, catechists, or laborers. Their ages ranged from as young as nine to as old as 72. Within this group, four Chinese diocesan priests were included.

The remaining 33 martyrs were foreigners, predominantly priests and women of religious orders. They represented various Christian denominations and missionary groups including the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians, and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

One notable martyr was Augustine Zhao Rong, a Chinese soldier who witnessed the martyrdom of Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse from the Paris Foreign Mission Society, in Beijing. This event led to Augustine’s baptism and subsequent ordination as a diocesan priest. He met his own martyrdom in 1815.

These 120 martyrs were beatified in separate groups at different times, but were collectively canonized in Rome on October 1, 2000, marking their official recognition as saints within the Catholic Church.

Photo credit: Fayhoo via Wikimedia Commons
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11 COMMENTS

  1. THANK YOU GOD FOR SAINT AUGUSTINE ZHAO RONG _ I PRAY THAT CHINA WILL RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR SAVIOR _ I PRAY FOR ALL OF THE MARTYRS THEN AND NOW WHO ARE KILLED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST _ GOD GO WITH THEM ALL> AMEN!

  2. `We pray for all ye Holy Martyrs and all those who being killed today’s for the Love of Jesus Christ

  3. Holy men and women and children, martyred for the Faith, hear our pleas and pray for us. Rebuild the devastated Church with moral integrity and doctrinal truths, and renewed calls for religious vocations even amidst persecution. Amen.

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