Japanese Samurai Who Gave Up Everything To Follow Jesus To Be Made A Saint
A Japanese samurai who gave up his status to follow Jesus will be beatified in a ceremony in Japan on 7 February.
The ceremony for the beatification of Justo Takayama Ukon (1552-1615), known as the "Samurai of Christ", will take place in Osaka, Agenzia Fides reported.
Pope Francis signed a decree for his beatification in January last year and the Japanese have been preparing for the event since then.
Born into a family of landowners, Ukon converted to Christianity at the age of 12 after coming into contact with Jesuit missionaries.
When shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi took power and banned the practice of Christianity, Ukon refused to follow the great feudal lords. As a result, he lost his properties, his position and his social status and was eventually forced into exile.
With 300 other Japanese Christians he fled to Manila where, just 40 days after his arrival, he fell ill and died on 4th February, 1615.
The ceremony for Ukon will be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and broadcast on live television in Japan.
The Japanese faithful proclaimed Ukon's sanctity in the seventeenth century, but the isolationist policy of the country prevented the canonical investigators to collect evidence in order to certify his holiness, Ahenzia Fides said.
The Japanese bishops took up the cause in 1965.
News of the ceremony comes after the international release of the Martin Scorsese film Silence, which tells the story of Christian martyrs in Japan in the 16th century. The movie is based on the 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō.