5 February 1597 – Gonsalo Garcia

Gonsalo GarciaFearful that missionaries would lead a revolt to overthrow him, Japanese Emperor Taiko-Sama had Saint Gonsalo Garcia crucified.

Half Portuguese, half Indian, Gonsalo Garcia was one of 26 Roman Catholic missionaries to be executed. Having spread the word of God for four years, he travelled to Japan to preach further.

Sadly the deeply suspicious Taiko-Sama, who was Emperor of Japan, believed they were there to dethrone him. So he had them put under house arrest at the convent where they were staying in Miaco (Kyoto) on 8 December 1596.

Ear today

A few days later Garcia was slung in jail, along with 25 others. Shortly after, on 3 January 1597, they had their left ears cut off. Garcia was finally put out of his misery just over a month later, when the 41-year-old was crucified on Nagasaki Hills with his fellow missionaries.

Cross words

He sang God’s praises as he was being hammered on to his cross, which is how he earned his martyrdom. He was then fatally skewered with two lances that were driven through his heart. His road to canonisation started 30 years later and he was finally declared a saint in 1862.

Also on this day

5 February 1597 – The Martyrs of Japan

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