Apostolic Nuncio honors “Samurai of Christ” at Bl. Takayama’s Feast Day Mass

The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines His Excellency Charles John Brown, KC*HS, underscored the unfailing devotion to the faith displayed by the Samurai of Christ, Blessed Justus Takayama Ukon, at the martyr’s Feast Day Mass on February 3, 2022.

Born in Takayama village, in Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture, Takayama Ukon was a former samurai turned Catholic layman who was considered a pillar of the early Church of Japan. He was baptized at 12 years old, taking the name “Justus”, during a time when Christian persecution was rampant.

Bl. Takayama, accompanied by around hundreds of Japanese Christians, was exiled to Manila in December 1614 for refusing to abjure his Catholic faith. He turned over an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Dominican friars in Santo Domingo in Intramuros. The image, known as “La Japonesa”, remains in the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. He died in Intramuros, Manila on February 3, 1615, only 44 days after arriving in Manila

“He represents an admirable example of fortitude in the faith and dedication in charity. This is the glory of Blessed Takayama. The fact that he was able to sacrifice his honors and homeland for the sake of Christ,” emphasized Most Rev. Brown.

The Apostolic Nuncio prayed, “that we may have the grace to imitate [Bl. Takayama], his steadfastness in his spiritual combat, and his love for our Lady, and in his triumph over sin and death.”

In 1630, a petition was presented to the Vatican by the Archdiocese of Manila for Bl. Takayama’s beatification. In the 1980s, a historian and alumnus of the UST Graduate School, Dr. Ernesto de Pedro, was commissioned to study the cause since the petition for Takayama’s beatification was revived. In 1989, de Pedro established the Lord Justus Takayama Professional Chair in Philippine-Japanese Studies at the University of Santo Tomas.
Bl. Takayama was Beatified in Osaka on February 7, 2017. His statue is hosted at the Blessed Lord Justus Takayama Sanctuary in front of the Thomas Aquinas Research Center.

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