Otranto Martyrs Proclaimed As Saints
Spurred on by his triumph of having conquered the “Second Rome” – Constantinople – this drove the ambitious Ottoman Ruler Mehmed II to subject the “First Rome” also to the sword of the prophet. On the way to the West, the Turkish flotilla appeared in the southern Adriatic in 1480. The city of Otranto was conquered, the population either massacred or enslaved.
The more than 800 Martyrs of Otranto, when faced with the choice of renouncing Christ or death, remained faithful to the Gospel. It is precisely their faith, the Pope said, that gave them the strength to remain faithful. He prayed, “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”