Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Otranto Martyrs ~ Antonio Primaldo

Facts

Feastday: August 14

Patron of Otranto

Death: 1480

Beatified By: December 14, 1771 by Pope Clement XIV

Canonized By: May 12, 2013, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Francis


Saint Antonio Primaldo and the Martyrs of Otranto

Antonio Primaldo was martyred in 1480 by Ottoman invaders after he refused along with approximately 800 others, to convert to Islam. Primaldo will be beautified and elevated to sainthood in a ceremony on May 12, 2013 by Pope Francis.

In 1480, an Ottoman force arrived by sea in the southern tip of the Italian boot, at the town of Otranto. Ontranto at that time was a small, fortified town of about 6,000 inhabitants.

The Ottomans immediately attacked the town, bombarding it indiscriminately. The asked for the town's surrender the next day, which was summarily refused. Thus scorned, the Ottomans resumed their bombardment compelling the civilians to retreat into the small citadel there.

That retreat and the subsequent entry into the town by the Ottoman invaders, initiated a 15-day siege during which the inhabitants remained steadfast.

A final assault was ordered on the citadel by the Ottoman commander, Gedik Ahmed Pasha. That assault broke through the defenses and subsequently all men over the age of 15 were slaughtered. The women and children were enslaved.

A number of people still managed to survive and escape and took refuge in the local cathedral to pray with their elderly archbishop, Stefano Pendinelli. Pasha entered the cathedral and demanded their conversion to Islam. All refused and most were immediately beheaded.

On August 14, about 800 survivors including Antonio Primaldo were bound with ropes and transported to a local hilltop where they were to be executed, their families compelled to watch and even assist in the killings.

Primaldo was the first victim and was beheaded whilst standing. Legend says his body remained standing, and despite efforts to push it over, remained upright until the last victim was killed. This miracle was said to cause the conversion of an Ottoman officer called Bersabei, who became Christian. For this conversion, he was impaled by his own men.

The other 800 martyrs were systematically killed by beheading.

The following year, on October 13, the bodies of the buried martys were discovered to be uncorrupted, showing no signs of decay. This was regarded as a great sign and the bodies were transferred to the city's cathedral. Some of the bodies were taken to Naples and buried under the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary in the church of Sant Caterina a Formiello.

The town of Otranto was eventually recaptured by an army led by Alfanso of Aragon, son of the king of Naples.

The remains of the martyrs were later moved to a reliquary chapel and are now housed under an altar there.

In subsequent years, several miracles have been attributed to Primaldo and the martyrs. The canonical process to beautify the 800, including Primaldo, began in 1539 and ended only in 1771, demonstrating the slow, careful pace at which the Church declares persons to be saints.

They were beautified by Pope Clement XIV on December 14, 1771.

The martyrs and Primalso will be canonized on May 13, 2013 by Pope Francis.

Notably, the announcement of their canonization came from Pope Benedict during the same presentation where he announced his retirement from the papacy.

The only known reference to him is via a book written by Odo of Cluny who lived from 879-942 and who never met Gerald. Odo however wrote that he did extensive research into Gerald's life and concluded that he was in fact, a saint.

During the course of his investigation into Gerald's life, Odo confessed that there were many reasons to doubt Gerald's sainthood. Chief among them was that Gerald was not a member of an established order of clergy, but rather lived his life as a wealthy, lay noble.

Gerald was known for being chronically ill throughout his life, possibly suffering from severe acne which left his face scarred and he became blind in his later years.

Despite these physical concerns, Gerald was regarded as a kind and merciful noble, showing mercy to convicts and kindness to the poor. His desire was to become a monk, however his noble obligations made such a transition difficult.

Motivated by faith, Gerald sought to donate his lands to the Pope, but was dissuaded by his friend, Bishop Gausbert of Rodez, who persuaded him that he could do the most good by living a pious life in private and serving the needs of his people in public. Gerald did so.

Gerald shaved a small spot on his head as well as his beard, and concealed his private devotion to the Church so that he could retain public credibility and authority. During his time, Papal authority was waning and secular forces conspired to consolidate power away from the lesser nobility.

Gerald also took a private vow of chastity. He never married and produced no children. He spent considerable time in daily, devotional prayer.

Eventually, Gerald was able to make a pilgrimage to Rome and donate some of his lands to the Church. He also established a church and a monastery on his lands, which he deliberately established in such a way as to make the monastery independent of all control except Rome's.

Gerald was a model noble, bridging the gap between religious virtue and secular authority. He showed others that it is possible to wield power and wealth while living a pious and righteous life. The skeptical Odo eventually concluded that Gerald had in fact, become a saint upon his death.

St. Gerald's feast day is October 13. He is the patron saint of bachelors, counts, and the disabled, as well as the Upper Auvergne region of France where he lived.


More about St. Otranto Martyrs ~ Antonio Primaldo from Wikipedia

St. Otranto Martyrs ~ Antonio Primaldo Comments



More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

16.

Image of St. Bernadette

St. Bernadette

St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre's, the local parish church, ... continue reading | shop

17.

Image of St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete ... continue reading | shop

18.

Image of St. Clare

St. Clare

St. Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi on July 16, 1194, as Chiara Offreduccio, the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Tradition says ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Polycarp

St. Polycarp

Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day
February 2017
S M T W T F S
1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728

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


Required


Female Saints

Image of St.Teresa of Calcutta

St.Teresa of Calcutta

The remarkable woman who would be known as Mother Theresa began life named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, she was the youngest child born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, Receiving her First Communion at the age of five, she was confirmed in ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for Bl.Teresa of Calcutta

Bl.Teresa of Calcutta

The remarkable woman who would be known as Mother Theresa began life named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, she was the youngest child born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, Receiving her First Communion at the age of five, she was confirmed in ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Anna the Prophetess

St. Anna the Prophetess

A widow and seeress, described in St. Luke's Gospel. continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Let us remember to give thanks for this day the Lord has made.

Quotes of the Saints - Five saints have a message for you on this Thanksgiving holiday

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

If you are an American, today is Thanksgiving. Hopefully today you have made a point to attend Mass and to give thanks to God for all His blessings. If you are not American, today's holiday is a reminder that God deserves thanks from all His creation. We pray you will ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Newsletters

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, Sirach 5:1-8
1 Do not put your confidence in your money or say, 'With this I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3-4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 9:41-50
41 'If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 23rd, 2017 Image

St. Polycarp
February 23: Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the ... Read More