Nagasaki martyr site designated for pilgrimages

Kyodo

An area in the city of Nagasaki where a group of Christians was slaughtered in the 16th century has been officially designated as a pilgrimage site by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan.

Twenty-six Christians and foreign missionaries were executed by crucifixion in the Nishizaka area during a purge by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a powerful warlord.

It is the first site to be awarded the designation by the organization.

Renzo De Luca, a Jesuit priest and director of the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum in Nishizaka, plans to call on the Vatican to also approve it as a site of pilgrimage. The Vatican canonized the 26 martyrs in 1862.

The organization said its decision was based on Nishizaka’s historical significance, as the site saw the first incidence of Christian martyrdom in Japan.