St. Maximilian Kolbe
|St. Maximilian Kolbe|
The Bear thinks he would be a great patron saint of bloggers due to his use of technology to spread the Catholic faith.
The Martyrs of Otranto
|Relics of the martyrs of Otranto|
On August 14, 1480, the exhausted defenders of Otranto, in southern Italy, were given the choice of the defeated by Pasha Ahmet: convert to Islam or die.
A priest named Giovanni addressed the prisoners. He urged them to abandon the Catholic faith and agree to the Pasha's terms. To a man, the 800 prisoners rejected the priest's pleas. They were taken to a hill and every one of them had his head cut off by the Muslim invaders.
Some historians say their hopeless defense of Otranto delayed the Muslims long enough to throw off the invaders' timetable, and, ultimately, save Rome. For a good article on the subject, go here.
In 2007, Pope Benedict declared them martyrs, i.e. they were killed out of hatred for their faith. The martyrs were canonized on May 12, 2013 by Pope Francis.