Franciscan Friars Martyred for the Sanctity of Marriage
Friar Pedro de Corpa had spent a decade before his death in the late 16th century as a missionary converting Indians to Christianity in Spanish Florida, which then included the 100-mile Georgia coast.
De Corpa was assigned to a mission near present-day Darien, Georgia, when he infuriated the nephew of a Guale chieftain who planned to take a second wife. The friar admonished the nephew, a baptized Christian named Juanillo, and told him polygamy violated God's law.
On Sept. 14, 1597, Juanillo led warriors smeared in war paint to de Corpa's hut, where he was preparing for morning Mass. They killed the friar with stone clubs, severed his head and displayed it on a pike by a nearby river landing.
The warriors killed the other four friars over the next few days.
Bishop J. Kevin Boland, the head of the Savanna Diocese considers the friars true martyrs "because of their unwillingness to water down the teaching of the faith. . . It's very timely in today's culture, where marriage is under horrendous attacks." In fact, the martyrs have their own website.