There are many historical figures waiting to be elevated to sainthood because they were killed in hatred of the faith and of Christian civilization: Simon de Montfort (1170-1218), victim of the Albigensian heretics; Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, killed in 1587 by Elizabeth I Tudor; Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, monarchs of France, guillotined in 1793 by the Jacobins and, last but not least, Marcantonio Bragadin, the heroic defender of Famagusta flayed alive by the Turks in 1571. This year is the 450th anniversary of the victory of Lepanto, but also of the sacrifice of Marcantonio Bragadin. The tragic death of the Venetian patrician was handed down to history by an eyewitness, Nestore Martinengo (1547-1598), who in 1572 presented to the government of the Republic of Venice a famous report on L’assedio et la presa di Famagosta. Those who would like to understand this event in its religious and political context can read more about it in my book Saint Pius V: The Legendary Pope Who Excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I, Standardized the Mass, and Defeated the Ottoman Empire.

It all began during the night between September 13 and 14, 1569, when a tremendous tumult shook Venice. The massive ammunition depot of the arsenal had been blown up. The Senate of the Republic attributed the incident to saboteurs hired by Josef Nasi, a rich Jew of Portuguese origin, sworn enemy of the Republic of Venice, who lived in Constantinople and pushed the Sultan Selim II to conquest all the islands of the Aegean Sea.

Selim II (1524-1574), who had succeeded his father Suleiman the Magnificent as head of the Ottoman Empire, decided to break the peace concluded in 1540 with Venice, claiming alleged rights on the island of Cyprus, a Venetian colony that had great strategic importance and constituted, with Malta, the only Christian enclave in a sea dominated by the Turks.

Praise the Lord

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