The China Martys of 1900

La persecuzione dei boxers Giovanni Bigotto, fms


For many years no trace existed of the “Public Record,” the diocesan study of the martyrs about whom the present article deals: the Christians who were put to death by the Boxers in the year 1900. In the course of his research in the Vatican Archives, Father Giuseppe Guerra, Postulator General of the Vincentians, came upon a document called the “Transumptum.”

The document is a complete copy of the Proceedings of the Beijing Diocesan Tribunal. The Proceedings were sent to the Congregation of Rites which, in the 1930s, dealt with the Causes of those proposed for canonization.

The Transumptum contains a list of 896 martyrs. Although the number is significant, it remains limited in scope when one considers that thirty thousand Christians were killed by the Boxers between June and August 1900.

Of the four Marist Brother martyrs, two were Chinese: Brother Adon and the postulant Paul Jen. Their names appear on the list of those who were martyred in Chala, a place near Beijing. The official list of the Chala martyrs comprises about one hundred names. In fact, 350 bodies were removed from the common grave, corpses having been randomly thrown into ditches.

The other two Marist Brothers, Jules André and Joseph Félicité, were European. Their names appear on the list of martyrs from Jen Ts’e-T’ang and Pe-t’ang.


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