Science & Culture

Martin of the Ascension

Born circa 1566 in Vergara, Spain, Martín de Loynaz y Amunabarro (who was also known as Martín de Aguirre and is now also referred to as San Martín de la Ascensión, or Saint Martin of the Ascension) joined the Franciscan Order in 1586 and served missions in Mexico, the Philippines, and ultimately Japan, where he was crucified with 25 others in February 1597 near Nagasaki. The Catholic Church was having notable success in converting Japanese at the time, and because the Japanese government wanted to encourage trade with the West, it had tolerated the missionaries and their teachings. But a national political movement against Christianity gained momentum, and eventually Japan's leader, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was convinced that the missions would ultimately lead to a European invasion. Thousands were persecuted, including the group Martín accompanied, which was made up of six European Franciscan missionaries, three Japanese Jesuits, and seventeen laymen, including children. Martín and the others, known as the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan, were canonized on June 8, 1862, by Pope Pius IX.


Euskomedia. “San Martín de la Ascención.” Auñamendi Eusko Entziklopedia.

A Page from the History of the Missions: the 26 Martyrs of Japan 

Catholic Online. "St. Martin de Aguirre" 

Wikipedia. “26 mártires de Japón.”