Monday, August 27, 2007

Remembering the Japanese martyrs

My pastor, Monsignor Edward J. Filardi of St. Stephen Martyr, recently spoke in a homily of the fumi-e — that is, Japanese apostasy pictures or treading pictures — that he saw at the Smithsonian's "Encompassing the Globe" exhibition. During Japan's lengthy and exceedingly bloody persecution of Christians, some of those who were suspected of being Christian had to step on such images or be killed.

I had read of such pictures, but never seen them until I found the image at left online. Many Japanese Christians were martyred for refusing to step on them, but many others likely caved in, as can be seen by the wear and tear.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has more on Japanese martyrs.