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The Holy Martyrs

The Saints Berardo, Ottone, Pietro, Accursio and Adiuto.

Saints Berard, Otho, Peter, Accursius and Adjutus, venerated as saints by the Catholic Church, are also called Franciscan Protomartyrs as they were the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, executed in Morocco on 16 January 1220. Their remains are kept in the Sanctuary of the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Terni.

Berard was a subdeacon, Peter and Otho were priests, Adjutus and Accursius were lay brothers and they came from localities next to the town of Terni. They were among the first to embrace life as Minorites and were the first missionaries sent by Francis of Assisi to the Saracen lands.
They first went to Seville, in Spain, where they began to preach the Christian faith in the mosques. They were manhandled, taken captive and brought before the sultan Muhammad al-Nasir. They were then transferred to Morocco and ordered not to preach in the name of Christ anymore. In spite of these orders, they continued to preach the Gospel and, as a result of this, they were imprisoned again. After being subjected to flogging several times, they were beheaded on 16 January 1220.

When Francis learned of the murder of his brothers, he exclaimed: “I can now say with certainty that I have five Friars Minor”. The bodies were transferred to Coimbra, in Portugal, and Saint Anthony of Padua reported that their martyrdom provided the decisive motivation for him to enter the Order of the Friars Minor, in September 1220.
They were canonised by Pope Sixtus IV, also a Franciscan, on 7 August 1481, with the papal bull Cum alias.

Since 13 June 2010, the relics of these proto-martyr saints have been kept at the Antonian Shrine of the Franciscan Proto-martyrs

That same year, the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, in cooperation with public and religious institutions, inaugurated the pilgrimage route that touches the native villages of the proto-martyrs and the important places linked to the Franciscan and Benedictine memory. 

The route by an idea of the Compagnia dei Romei.

I Santi Martiri Berardo, Ottone, Pietro, Accursio e Adiuto. Cammino dei Protomartiri Francescani, Terni, Umbria, Italia

There are different forms of hospitality available to those who are walking

  • the way of the franciscan proto martyrs unione europea
  • the way of the franciscan proto martyrs repubblica italiana
  • the way of the franciscan proto martyrs regione umbria

  • the way of the franciscan proto martyrs fesr
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