Please send me your Martyrs.

If you have a Martyr you would like to notify me of, then please do not hesitate to e-mail him/her to me.

Our Lady Queen of the Martyrs Pray for us

Our Lady Queen of the Martyrs Pray for us

Monday, May 31, 2010

Blessed Jakob Gapp

Also known as
Jacob Gapp
13 August
Seventh child in the working class family of Martin Gapp and Antonia Wach. Received a basic education in his native town, then entered the Franciscan high school in Hall in 1910. Austrian soldier on the Italian front from May 1915 till he was wounded in 1916; received the silver medal of Courage Second Class. On 4 November 1918 he became a prisoner of war in Riva del Garda; released 18 August 1919.

Entered the Marianist novitiate at Greisinghof, Upper Austria in 1921. Assigned to the Marian Institute in Graz as a teacher and sacristan for four years, while preparing for the seminary. Made his profession at Antony, France on 27 August 1925. In September 1925 Jakob entered the International Marianist Seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland. Ordained by Bishop Marius Besson at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Fribourg on 5 April 1930.

Back in Austria he worked as a teacher, director of religious education, and chaplain in Marianist schools till 1938. Economic conditions were terrible; Father Gapp collected food and other necessities from students, and gave his own heating coal to the poor.

Nazism was on the rise in Germany and Austria. Father Gapp saw the incompatibility of Nazism and Christianity, and began preaching this truth. When German troops arrived in Austria in March 1938, he left Graz. His superiors sent him home as they believed his anti-Nazi preaching would bring on the wrath of the Reich; but those institutions were already marked for destruction.

In Tirol he enjoyed the last moments of peace in his life. He was an assistant pastor in Breitenwang-Reutte for two months when the Gestapo, in October 1938, ordered him not to teach religion. Father Gapp taught uncompromising love for all men and women without reference to nationality or religion, and that "God is your God, not Adolf Hitler." In a sermon on 11 December 1938 he defended Pope Pius XI against the attacks of the Nazis, and directed the faithful of the parish to read Catholic literature instead of Nazi propaganda. He was advised to leave the country.

He escaped to Bordeaux, France, where he worked as a chaplain and librarian. In May 1939 he went to Spain where he served in the Marianist communities at San Sebastian, Cadiz and Valencia. The Gestapo had followed him, and in 1942 he received word of two people across the border in France who claimed to be Jews fleeing from Nazis in Berlin, and who wanted instruction in Catholicism. When he crossed into France to minster to him, they abducted him.

Father Gapp was arrested on 9 November 1942 in Hendaye, France, and brought to Berlin. On 2 July 1943 he was condemned to death for speaking against the Reich. Burial of his remains were denied as the Nazis feared he would be seen as a martyr, and his grave become a site of silent demonstration and rebellion. On the afternoon of 13 August 1943 he was advised he would executed that night. He wrote two moving farewell letters, and was martyred.

"Action is more important than theory!" -Father Gapp
26 July 1897 at Wattens, Austrian Tirol
guillotined at 7.08pm 13 August 1943 at Plotzensee Prison, Berlin, Germany; remains used for research at the Anatomical-Biological Institute of the University of Berlin
6 April 1995 by Pope John Paul II
24 November 1996 by Pope John Paul II
pending; if you have information related to the canonization of Blessed Jakob contact:
Haupstraße 3, 2100
Stetten, AUSTRIA


Saturday, May 29, 2010

St. Theodosia of Constantinople

St. Theodosia of Constantinople lived during the eighth century and was born in answer to the fervent prayers of her parents. After their deaths, she was raised at the women’s monastery of the Holy Martyr Anastasia in Constantinople. After distributing what remained of her parental inheritance to the poor, she became a nun. She also used part of the money to commission gold and silver icons of the Savior, the Theotokos, and St. Anastasia.

When Leo the Isaurian ascended the throne, he issued an edict that holy icons be destroyed everywhere. Above the Bronze Gates at Constantinople was a bronze icon of the Savior, which had been there for more than 400 years. In 730, the iconoclast Patriarch Anastasius ordered that the icon be destroyed.

The Virgin Martyr Theodosia and other women rushed to protect the icon and toppled the ladder with the soldier who was carrying out the command. The women then stoned Patriarch Anastasius.

Emperor Leo ordered the women to be beheaded. St. Theodosia, an ardent defender of icons, was thrown in prison. She was given one hundred lashes a day for over one week. On the eighth day, she was led through the city, being beaten along the way. Ultimately, one of the soldiers stabbed her in the throat with a ram’s horn, and she received the crown of martyrdom.

Following the Triumph of Orthodoxy over iconoclasm she was recognized as a martyr and saint, and The body of the holy virgin martyr was reverently buried by Christians in the St. Euphemia Monastery in Constantinople, near a place called Dexiokratis. The tomb of St. Theodosia was glorified by numerous healings of the sick

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


He was born on July 1, 1903 in Stanislaviv (Ivano-Fraankivsk’). His parents were Volodymyr and Anne (nee Theodorowych) who were catechists. In 1920 he entered the Major Seminary in Lviv.

While he was a deacon, he received his religious vocation. He made his novitiate in Holosko near Lviv. He made his first profession in August, 1925. Soon after he was ordained by Bishop Joseph Bocian to the priesthood.

The young Redemptorist was a teacher at the Redemptorist Minor Seminary at Zboisk until 1928. Then he became a missionary for seven years in the area of Volyn working for Church union with the Orthodox and serving the Ukrainian Catholics from Halychyna who lived there. In 1935 he returned to Halychyna and was very active as a missionary.

In 1943, Velychkovsky became the local superior in the house in Ternopil.

The second occupation of the communist soviets in Halychyna brought with it terror and persecution of the Church. In March 1945 he was arrested by the communists in Ternopil. He was taken to Kiev where for almost two years he underwent a terrible process of interrogation. The courts of Kiev sentenced him to the maximum penalty of death by a firing squad. After he spent three months on death row, his sentence was then commuted to ten years of hard labour. This took place in Vorkuta labour camps above the Arctic Circle.

In 1955 Fr. Velychkovsky returned to Lviv.

In 1959 he was appointed as Bishop, and in 1963 he was ordained as bishop by Metropolitan Slipyj in a hotel room in Moscow. Through him the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine was maintained throughout the time of the underground church.

In 1969 he was arrested for "organising secret theological courses in Ternopil" and also because he was listening to Vatican radio. He was sentenced to three years of hard labour in lager camps. During this time he went through severe torture and his health was destroyed.

Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky was released in spring of 1972 and soon after died in Winnipeg on July 30, 1973.

Blessed Vasyl's relics were enshrined in St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on September 22, 2002.

If you would like more information about Blessed Vasyl, please contact our shrine office at:
204-338-7321 or visit Bishop Velychkovsky Martyr’s Shrine at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blessed Nicholas Charnetskyj

Dear Blog readers, just yesterday I had been to one of the most Holy Liturgies I have ever had the pleasure to attend. It was the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine, it takes place on Thomas Lane, behind St.Marys Pro Cathedral just off O'Connoll Street in St.Kevins Oratory, the Liturgy begins at 16:00 every Sunday. It was our ( both I and my Wife ) first ever Eatern Rite Mass with my Ukrainian brothers and sisters, so we were unsure about the different practice within their Liturgy. A guide offered to help us out ( I forget his name at this moment ) and explained to us the Different Icons, and he showed me Blessed Nicholas among Many, and when he mentioned he was a Martyr, I told him about my blog and how I am always looking for a Martyr to place upon my blog. It is great the way God finds me new Martyrs for my blog, so the following is the story of Blessed Nicholas Charnetskyj, his bringing the ukrainian church to Ireland and also his Martyrdom for the Faith.

I would also like to on this occasion, ask Blessed Nicholas, to pray for the full unity of both east and west with Rome, and for the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine and around the world Amen. I would also like to ask your prayers for Fr.Serge who celebrated the Mass I attended just yesterday.

In June 2001, Bishop Nicholas Charnetskyj was one of five Redemptorists among 27 martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul during his visit to the Ukraine. Fr Brendan McConvery, C.Ss.R., who lectures in scripture at Maynooth University and the Kimmage Institute, tells the story of Bishop Nicholas’s heroic suffering for the faith.

During his visit to the Ukraine last June, Pope John Paul beatified 27 martyrs and ‘confessors of the faith’, representing the countless members of the Greek Catholic Church of that country who witnessed to the faith during the darkest days of the Soviet occupation. They included eight bishops, seven diocesan priests, eight priest-religious, three sisters and one layman. The religious included five Redemptorists. One of them, Bishop Nicholas Charnetskyj visited Ireland to represent his church at the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932.

Outwardly, the Ukrainian Catholic Church (also known as the Greek Catholic Church) resembles the Russian Orthodox Church. It has retained a married clergy. The Byzantine liturgy is celebrated in the Old Slavonic language. Western Catholics are usually struck by the length of the Sunday celebration. A typical parish mass can last about 11/2 or two hours. Everything is sung in beautiful, unaccompanied polyphonic singing. The churches are richly decorated with icons. But what distinguishes the Greek Catholics from the Orthodox is that they have been in communion with Rome since the 17th century.

Redemptorists in the Ukraine

The Redemptorists went to the Ukraine from Belgium at the beginning of the 20th century. They were one of the first religious communities founded in the Latin church to work among the Greek Catholics of Eastern Europe. The Redemptorists adopted the Greek Catholic way of celebrating the liturgy, and devoted themselves to their traditional apostolate of parish missions. They soon attracted young Ukrainian men, and within a few years there was a flourishing Redemptorist community.

Several diocesan priests joined the Redemptorists. Among them was Nicholas Charnetskyj. Born in 1884, he spent the first years of his priesthood as a seminary professor and spiritual director. He entered the Redemptorists in 1919 and was professed the following year. Pope Pius XI appointed him Apostolic Visitor for the Ukrainians in Volynia in 1931, and he was consecrated as bishop in the Redemptorist church in Rome. During the ceremony, his bishop’s mitre fell to the ground, but the new bishop swept away the embarrassment of the server with a joke: “Maybe it’s a sign that I’m going to lose my head like St Josephat” (the martyred bishop who brought the Ukrainian Church back to unity with Rome). Events were to prove it an accurate prophecy.

The following year, Bishop Nicholas came to Ireland to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. One of the purposes of a Eucharistic Congress is to show the universality and diversity of the church’s faith in the Eucharist through a number of solemn liturgies in different rites. Bishop Nicholas was chosen as celebrant of the Pontifical liturgy in the Byzantine Rite at the Jesuit Church in Gardiner Street, Dublin. While in Dublin, he stayed with the Redemptoristine Sisters at their convent in St Alphonsus Road. He visited most of the Redemptorist houses in Ireland, celebrating Mass each day in the distinctive Greek Catholic Rite.


On his departure, he asked the sisters to remember in their prayers the persecuted church of Russia. Within a few years, the persecution was beginning to touch the Ukraine. The Russian occupation of 1939 led to the closure of churches and the dispersion of religious communities. Bishop Nicholas remained at his post in Lviv. The situation was not improved by the arrival of the Germans two years later, and Bishop Nicholas was held under close confinement.

When the Russians returned in 1944, the Ukrainian Catholic Church was declared to be illegal and its members to belong henceforth to the Orthodox Church. The first step in the dissolution was the arrest of all the Greek Catholic Bishops. Bishop Nicholas was charged with collaboration with the Nazis and with being an agent of the Vatican. He was tortured cruelly but bore his sufferings with great humility. One of his chief torturers was so impressed by the bishop’s humility that he asked his forgiveness. Bishop Nicholas gave him absolution and the kiss of peace.

Labour camps

Bishop Nicholas was sentenced to five years in a labour camp, one of the notorious gulags that Alexander Solzhenitsyn has described in such horrifying terms in The Gulag Archipelago. Since he steadfastly refused to admit to any crime, a further 10 years were added to his sentence. Under the Soviet system, prisoners were moved frequently from one camp to another to prevent anyone on the outside from learning too much about the system. During his years of detention, Bishop Nicholas passed through about 30 labour camps. It has been estimated that he spent a total of 600 hours under torture and interrogation. Nevertheless, he found ways even in the camps of continuing his work as a pastor, comforting other prisoners with a kind word or a verse of scripture.

When his health finally broke, Bishop Nicholas was released in 1956 and permitted to return to Lviv to die. He was able to spend his last days in a hired room with a Redemptorist brother as a companion. Despite serious ill-health, he resumed his work as bishop. He devoted much of his remaining energy to training future priests to work in ‘the underground church.’ Each of these priests needed a civil job as a cover for their secret lives as priests. Some were factory workers, doctors, engineers by day. For small groups of believers meeting in secret, they celebrated Mass and conferred the sacraments.

Death and funeral

Bishop Nicholas died on 2 April, 1959. Despite the outlawed status of his church, the faithful crowded into the room where he died for a solemn funeral liturgy around his body, clothed in his Redemptorist habit and bishop’s stole. It was accompanied to its last resting place by a Latin Catholic priest. It was to be more than another 30 years before the dark night of Soviet terror came to an end.

By a miracle of grace and the heroism of men like Bishop Nicholas, the church in the West Ukraine survived. The Redemptorists, like the other religious communities, went underground. New members were received and trained in such secrecy that even their families had no idea they were religious or priests. All had daytime jobs. One brother, who had been forced to leave his community, heard of a job as a night-watchman in a former Redemptorist monastery which had been turned into a factory. For many years, it had been a well-known centre of pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady. The brother applied for the job. Each night, he made a circuit of the building saying the 15 decades on the long Redemptorist rosary, which was the only part of his habit he had been able to keep. He was, he said, keeping it safe for Our Lady until she reclaimed her own. He had the happiness of seeing the monastery and church returned to the Redemptorists.


Saturday, May 8, 2010



''A Catholic Priest has been murdered near the City of Mumbai. Police are currently trying to establish the reason for the killing of Fr.Peter Bombacha, who was 74 and well known to his local community and all faiths. Reacting to news of the killing, the Bishop of Vasai, Msgr Felix Machado described the Priest as ''a Priest full of faith, serving the Church and the people without discrimination of caste or creed, he forgot himself to serve the most poor and abandoned.


"In an apparent attack by Muslims, two Christian journalists have been killed in the country. The Pair, Nathan Dabak, who was an assistant editor at ''the Light bearer'' Christian newspaper, and Sunday Gyang Bwede, a reporter with the same paper, were stabbed to death in the flash point of Jos. Youths linked with the Hausa community are suspected of carrying out the crime as the journalists mobile phones have apparently been used to boast of the crimes by the young killers.''


An American Priest has been killed. Fr Esteban Woods, originally from Washington state was found dead at his home in Bolivar, apparently from stab wounds; he had been tied up before he died. Parishioners has become concerned for their Priest when he failed to open the Church doors for morning worship.''

Source: Irish Catholic Newspaper.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blessed Titus Brandsma

Anno Sjoerd Brandsma was born February 23, 1881 in the village of Oegeklooster near Bolsward in Friesland, as a son of Titus Brandsma, dairy farmer and Tjitsje Postma. At the age of 11, he asked his father's permission to enter the Franciscan minor seminary in Megen to begin preparatory studies. Anno was a frail boy and not blessed with the strong constitution typical of his people. He was a willing worker but could never handle the heavy farm work Frisian children customarily performed. Titus and Tjitsje, although concerned about his health, gave him permission to try the seminary and Anno left home in 1892, when he was 11 years old.

During his six-year stay Anno was known for his intelligence as well as his sense of humor. His classmates nicknamed him "Shorty." In his third year at the seminary he developed a severe intestinal disorder and lost a considerable amount of weight. The friars ordered a special diet for him, featuring cream, eggs, butter and other foods that enabled him to regain his lost weight. Anno soon recovered his health and returned with renewed energies to his studies. His superiors, however, not satisfied that he was strong enough for the rigors of Dutch Franciscan life, suggested that he seek a gentler form of life. The rejection hurt, but Anno accepted it with grace and resiliency.
Anno Brandsma joined the Carmelite fathers at Boxmeer on September 17, 1898. He chose his father’s name, Titus and making his first vows in 1899.

From the beginning of entering the Carmelite Monastery, Titus showed an extraordinary gift for journalism and writing. He translated the works of Saint Teresa of Avila from Spanish to Dutch, publishing them in 1901. Titus was ordained a Catholic Priest on June 17, 1905, and after further studies at the Roman Gregorian University, graduated on October 25, 1909 with a doctorate in philosophy. Father Titus Brandsma spent his early Ministry in education where he joined the faculty of the newly founded Catholic University of Nijmegen in 1923. His interest in mysticism ultimately led him to France, Germany, the United States, Italy, Spain and in 1935 he was named by the Dutch Hierarchy as National Spiritual Advisor to Catholic Journalists.

In 1935 he wrote against anti-Jewish marriage laws, which brought him to the attention of the Nazis. Titus later wrote that no Catholic publication could publish Nazi propaganda and still call itself Catholic; this led to more attention. Continually followed by the Gestapo, the Nazi attention led to his arrest on 19 January 1942. For several weeks he was shuttled from jail to jail, abused, and punished for ministering to other prisoners. Titus Brandsma was deported to the Dachau concentration camp in April 1942. There he was overworked, underfed, and beaten daily; he asked fellow prisoners to pray for the salvation of the guards. When he could no longer work, he was used for medical experiments. When he was no longer any use for experimentation, he was murdered. He died July, 26, 1942 by injection with a deadly drug that, ten minutes later, took his life at Dachau concentration camp; his executioner was a nurse who had been raised Catholic, but left the Church.

Titus Brandsma is honored as a martyr within the Roman Catholic church. He was beatified on 3 November 3, 1985 by Pope John Paul II. His canonizing is pending. In 2005, Titus Brandsma was chosen by the inhabitants of Nijmegen as the greatest citizen to have lived there.