Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of Martyrs of Vietnam


Feastday: November 24

Several groups of martyrs also called the Martyrs of Annam who were slain for the faith in Vietnam from 1798 until 1861. Between 1798 and 1853, sixty-four were martyred, receiving beatification in 1900. Those who died in a second group, between 1859 and 1861, were beatified in 1909. There were twenty-eight courageous men and women who died for the faith during a long period of persecution. A Portuguese missionary arrived in Vietnam, once called Annam, Indo-China, Cochin-China, and Tonkin, in 1533. An imperial edict in Vietnam forbade Christianity, and it was not until 1615 that the Jesuits were able to establish a permanent mission there, in the central region of the country. In 1627, a Jesuit went north to establish another mission. By the time this missionary, Father Alexander de Rhodes, was expelled from the land in 1630, he had baptized 6,700 Vietnamese. In that same year the first Christian martyr was beheaded, and more were executed in 1644 and 1645 . Father Rhodes returned to Vietnam but was banished again in 1645. He then went to Paris, France, where the Paris Seminary for Foreign Missions was founded. Priests arrived in Vietnam, and the faith grew. Between 1798 and 1853, a period of intense political rivalry and civil wars, sixty-four known Christians were executed. These were beatified in 1900. In 1833, all Christians were ordered to renounce the faith, and to trample crucifixes underfoot. That edict started a persecution of great intensity that was to last for half a century. Some twenty-eight martyrs from this era were beatified in 1909. The bishop, priests, and Europeans were given "a hundred wounds," disemboweled, beaten, and slain in many other grisly fashions. For a brief period in 1841 the persecution abated as France threatened to intervene with warships. However, in 1848, prices were placed on the heads of the missionaries by a new emperor. Two priests, Father Augustin Schoffier and Father Bonnard, were beheaded as a re­sult. In 1855, the persecution raged, and the following year wholesale massacres began. Thousands of Vietnamese Christians were martyred, as well as four bish­ops and twenty-eight Dominicans. It is estimated that between 1857 and 1862, 115 native priests, 100 Vietnamese nuns, and more than 5,000 of the faithful were martyred. Convents, churches, and schools were razed, and as many as 40,000 Catholics were dispossessed of their lands and exiled from their own regions to starve in wilderness areas. The martyrdoms ended with the Peace of 1862, brought about by the surrendering of Saigon and other regions to France and the payment of indemnities to France and Spain. It is now reported that the "Great Massacre," the name given to the persecution of the Church in Vietnam, resulted in the following estimated deaths:

Eastern Vietnam - fifteen priests, 60 cathechists, 250 nuns, 24,000 Catholic lay men and women. Southern Vietnam - ten priests, 8,585 Catholic men and women. Southern Tonkin region - eight French missionaries, one native priest, 63 cathechists, and 400 more Christians slain - in all, an estimated 4,799 were martyred and 1,181 died of starvation. Some 10,000 Catholics were forced to flee the area. Pope John Paul II canonized 117 Martyrs of Vietnam on June 19,1988.


More about Martyrs of Vietnam from Wikipedia

Martyrs of Vietnam Comments

More Saints

Browse Saints by Category

Popular Saints




Image of St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842. One day when he was just four, he disappeared and his good mother went looking for him. She found the little fellow in a corner praying with his ... continue reading


Image of St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August 4 Universally known as the "Cure of Ars)," St. John Mary Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later ... continue reading


Image of St. Philip Neri

St. Philip Neri

If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of holiness that would Philip Neri. Born in 1515 in Florence, he showed the impulsiveness and spontaneity of his character ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Edward the Confessor

St. Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma, daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy. He was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Female Saints

Image of St. Margaret of Scotland

St. Margaret of Scotland

Margaret was an English princess. She and her mother sailed to Scotland to escape from the king who had conquered their land. King Malcolm of Scotland welcomed them and fell in love with the beautiful princess. Margaret and Malcolm were married before too long. As ... continue reading

More Female Saints

Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts


Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading

Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. John Gaulbert, Abbot

St. John Gaulbert, Abbot

Saint John Gaulbert, Abbot - Feast day is July 12th The city of Florence gave to the world Saint John Gaulbert. Although he enjoyed the benefits of an early Christian education, his youthful heart ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti

Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her ... continue reading

Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of St. Therese of Lisieux

Jennifer Hartline: Trying to Learn Humility From St. Therese

By Jennifer Hartline

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More