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117 Vietnamese Martyrs

The memorial of the Vietnamese Martyrs celebrates and remembers 117 Vietnamese Christian martyrs. Because the Vatican believes there may be up to 300,000 Vietnamese martyred for their faith during 1745-1862. A representative sample of these - the 117 - were beatified on four different occasions - 64 by Pope Leo XIII in 1900, eight by Pope Pius X on 1906, 20 by Pope Pius X in 1909 an d25 by Pope Pius XII in 1951. All 117 were then formally canonized together on June 19th, 1988 in an event chaired by Monsignor Tran Van Hoai.

In the late 18th century, the Catholic Church was heavily persecuted and many of it's churches destroyed during the Tay Son rebellion and the missions had just begun to rebuild after Nguyen Anh's victory. The tolerance of Christians in the country was viewed as a political move and it sadly fell apart with the ascension of the new emperor Minh Mang in 1820. Emperor Mang allowed Christian persecution unofficially until 1831 when he passed new laws banning Catholicism. In a village of Catholic members near Hue, the entire community was arrested and finally exiled to Cambodia in 1832. Catholics were soon asked to step on wooden crosses as a way of signifying their recanting of their faith (similar to Japanese persecutions hundreds of years prior). Things finally came to an evil and bloody new stage during the Le Van Khoi revolt.

A French priest named Joseph Marchand was being treated for illness in the Gia Dinh citadel. When news reached the emperor of a foreign Christian in rebel territory, several edicts were passed against Catholics in Vietnam. A missionary by the name of Francois Gagelin was arrested and executed as a foreign leader in 1835, largely by a mock show trial. In addition, the new edicts allowed for collective punishment against any community that harbored a Christian - an entire town could know be arrested or sacked if a single member was suspected of being Catholic. Any government official not acting fast enough or severely enough to stamp out Catholicism was removed from his post and anyone who turned in a Catholic was awarded great sums of money.

During this time, Father Ignatius Delgado was captured in the town of Can Lao and put into a wooden cage for ridicule. For several days, locals and government officials would laugh at him, mock him, and throw stones into his wooden cage. After several days, he died of hunger and exposure, with the arresting officer awarded with almost 3kg of silver. The bishop Dominic Henares was found in Nam Dinh and executed, Father Joseph Fernandez and Nguyen Ba Tuan were captured in Kim Song and imprisoned. The priests Father Dang Dinh Vien, Father Dinh Viet Du and Father Nguyen Van Xuyen were all arrested and executed. Near Hue city, a Catholic doctor Simon Hoa sheltered a missionary named Charles Delamotte. When the doctor was arrested he was publicly executed. Often times, Catholic villagers were executed alongside the priests that served them. Saint Pope John Paul II canonized all martyrs of the Vietnamese persecutions, those whose names are known and unknown for the memorial.

A sampling of those remembered are below:

  • Andrew Dung-Lac An Tran

  • Augustin Schoeffler, MEP, a priest from France

  • Agnes Le Thi Thanh

  • Bernard Vũ Văn Duệ

  • Dominic Mậu

  • Emmanuel Le Van Phung

  • Emmanuel Trieu Van Nguyen

  • Francis Chieu Van Do

  • Francis Gil de Frederich|Francesc (Francis) Gil de Federich, OP, a priest from Catalonia (Spain)

  • François-Isidore Gagelin, MEP, a priest from France

  • Francis Jaccard, MEP, a priest from France

  • Francis Trung Von Tran

  • Francis Nguyen

  • Ignatius Delgado y Cebrian, OP, a bishop from Spain

  • Jacinto (Hyacinth) Casteñeda, OP, a priest from Spain

  • James Nam

  • Jerome Hermosilla, OP, a bishop from Spain

  • John Baptist Con

  • John Charles Cornay, MEP, a priest from France

  • John Dat

  • John Hoan Trinh Doan

  • John Louis Bonnard, MEP, a priest from France

  • John Thanh Van Dinh

  • José María Díaz Sanjurjo, OP, a bishop from Spain

  • Joseph Canh Luang Hoang

  • Joseph Fernandez, OP, a priest from Spain

  • Joseph Hien Quang Do

  • Joseph Khang Duy Nguyen

  • Joseph Luu Van Nguyen

  • Joseph Marchand, MEP, a priest from France

  • Joseph Nghi Kim

  • Joseph Thi Dang Le

  • Joseph Uyen Dinh Nguyen

  • Joseph Vien Dinh Dang

  • Joseph Khang, a local doctor

  • Joseph Tuc

  • Joseph Tuan Van Tran

  • Lawrence Ngon

  • Lawrence Huong Van Nguyen

  • Luke Loan Ba Vu

  • Luke Thin Viet Pham

  • Martin Tho

  • Martin Tinh Duc Ta

  • Matthew Alonzo Leziniana, OP, a priest from Spain

  • Matthew Phuong Van Nguyen

  • Matthew Gam Van Le

  • Melchor García Sampedro, OP, a bishop from Spain

  • Michael Dinh-Hy Ho

  • Michael My Huy Nguyen

  • Nicholas Thé Duc Bui

  • Paul Hanh

  • Paul Khoan Khan Pham

  • Paul Loc Van Le

  • Paul Tinh Bao Le

  • Paul Tong Viet Buong

  • Paul Duong

  • Pere (Peter) Almató i Ribera, OP, a priest from Catalonia (Spain)

  • Peter Tuan

  • Peter Dung Van Dinh

  • Peter Da

  • Peter Duong Van Truong

  • Peter Francis Néron, MEP, a priest from France

  • Peter Hieu Van Nguyen

  • Peter Quy Cong Doan

  • Peter Thi Van Truong Pham

  • Peter Tuan Ba Nguyen, a fisherman

  • Peter Tuy Le

  • Peter Van Van Doan

  • Philip Minh Van Doan

  • Pierre Borie, MEP, a bishop from France

  • Simon Hoa Dac Phan

  • Stephen Theodore Cuenot, MEP, a bishop from France

  • Stephen Vinh

  • Théophane Vénard, MEP, a priest from France

  • Thomas De Van Nguyen

  • Thomas Du Viet Dinh

  • Thomas Thien Tran

  • Thomas Toan

  • Thomas Khuong

  • Valentine Berriochoa, OP, a bishop from the Basque Country

  • Vicente Liem de la Paz

  • Vincent Duong

  • Vincent Tuong, a local judge

  • Vincent Yen Do

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