Carthusian Martyrs

The Carthusian martyrs are those members of the Carthusian monastic order who have been persecuted and killed because of their Christian faith and their adherence to the Catholic religion. As an enclosed order the Carthusians do not, on principle, put forward causes for their members, though causes have been promoted by others on their behalf.

Vicente Carducho. El Paular 09
Martirio de los cartujos de Mauerbach, Vicente Carducho. 1642

The order

The Carthusian order was founded in 1084 by St. Bruno of Cologne, and is an eremitic order, holding to the principle of withdrawal from the world to a life of silent contemplation and prayer. They are often viewed as hermits that live in common, having no active apostolate outside their Charterhouse. Carthusian life is dramatically different as compared to Benedictine Monasticism, the most prevalent form in the west. Today the Carthusians are a small order, comprising today of 25 houses worldwide with just 350 male and 75 female members.

The Martyrs

During the Hussite Revolution in Bohemia in the 15th century Carthusian houses, as with other Catholic institutions, came under attack. In 1419 the charterhouse in Prague was burned down.[1]

In 1537 during the English Reformation the London Charterhouse was dissolved and its members imprisoned and later executed. Eighteen of these were beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII;[2] three of these (Augustine Webster, John Houghton and Robert Lawrence) were canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI with other English martyrs as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

In 1572 during the Dutch Revolt the Charterhouses of Delft and Roermond were attacked, resulting in the deaths of Dom Justus van Schoonhoven and others.[3]

During the French Revolution numerous Carthusians were persecuted with other Catholic religious and lay persons. Claude Beguignot and Lazarus Tiersot were ordained Carthusians. As priests, they were required to take the anti-Papal oath of the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy". At their refusal they were imprisoned along with eight other Carthusians in former slave ships anchored in the Charente River at Rochefort. Like most of 800 priests and clergy confined there, they died in 1794 due to the inhumane conditions.[4] They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.[5]

In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Carthusians were affected by the widespread anti-clericalism; two of these, from the Charterhouse of Montalegre, have so far been recognized.

In September 1944, monks from the charterhouse at Certosa di Farneta opened their doors to troops from the 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division, who said they came bearing gifts for the abbey. They broke into the monastery to arrest 32 partisans and Jews being sheltered in the monastery. Some of the refugees were able to escape. Of the more than sixty killed, twelve were Carthusians.[6] Among the twelve Carthusians killed were two Germans, one Swiss, one Venezuelan, and one Spaniard. The remaining monks were also from diverse countries. Those killed were:

  • Benedetto Lapuente,
  • Bruno D'Amico,
  • Raffaele Cantero,
  • Adriano Compagnon,
  • Adriano Clerc,
  • Michele Nota,
  • Giorgio Maritano,
  • Pio Egger,
  • Martino Binz,
  • Gabriele Maria Costa,
  • Bernardo Montes de Oca
  • Aldo Mei

See also


  1. ^ "Smíchov", The Institute of History, Czech Academy of Sciences, 2015
  2. ^ "Lives of the English martyrs : declared blessed by Pope Leo XIII, in 1886 and 1895". Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  3. ^ "Carthusians Commemorated", Immaculate Heart of Mary's Hermitage
  4. ^ "Carthusian Saints", Charterhouse of the Transfiguration, 2006
  5. ^ "Martyrs during the French Revolution", Hagiography Circle
  6. ^ Sciascia, Giuseppina, "The Silent Summer of 1944", in L'Osservatore Romano. English Weekly Edition, 2005, February 2nd. Republished as "Carthusian Booklets Series", no. 10. Arlington, VT: Charterhouse of the Transfiguration, 2006.

External links

  • article at Immaculate Heart of Mary Hermitage
Athleta Christi

"Athleta Christi" (Latin: "Champion of Christ") was a class of Early Christian soldier martyrs, of whom the most familiar example is one such "military saint," Saint Sebastian.

Augustine Webster

Saint Augustine Webster (died 4 May 1535) was an English Catholic martyr. He was the prior of Our Lady of Melwood, a Carthusian house at Epworth, on the Isle of Axholme, in north Lincolnshire, in 1531. His feast day is 4 May.

Beauvale Priory

Beauvale Priory (also known as Beauvale Charterhouse) was a Carthusian monastery in Beauvale, Nottinghamshire. It is a scheduled ancient monument.

Carthusian Martyrs of London

The Carthusian Martyrs of London were the monks of the London Charterhouse, the monastery of the Carthusian Order in central London, who were put to death by the English state in a period lasting from the 4 May 1535 till the 20 September 1537. The method of execution was hanging, disembowelling while still alive and then quartering. Others were imprisoned and left to starve to death. The group also includes two monks who were brought to that house from the Charterhouses of Beauvale and Axholme and similarly dealt with. The total was 18 men, all of whom have been formally recognized by the Catholic Church as martyrs.

At the outset of the "King's Great Matter," (the euphemism given to King Henry VIII's decision to divorce Catherine of Aragon, marry Anne Boleyn and break legal ties with the Pope) the government was anxious to secure the public acquiescence of the Carthusian monks, since they enjoyed great prestige for the austerity and sincerity of their way of life. When this attempt failed, the only alternative was to annihilate the resistance, since their refusal put the prestige of the monks in opposition to the king's will. This took the form of a long process of attrition.

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales are a group of Catholic, lay and religious, men and women, executed between 1535 and 1679 for treason and related offences under various laws enacted by Parliament during the English Reformation. The individuals listed range from Carthusian monks who in 1535 declined to accept Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy, to seminary priests who were caught up in the alleged ‘Popish Plot’ against Charles II in 1679. Many were sentenced to death at show trials, or with no trial at all.

Humphrey Middlemore

Humphrey Middlemore, O.Cart, (died 19 June 1535) was an English Catholic priest and Carthusian hermit, who was executed for treason during the Tudor period. He is considered a martyr by the Catholic Church, and, along with other members of his religious order to meet that fate, was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December 1886.

John Houghton (martyr)

Saint John Houghton, O.Cart., (c. 1486 – 4 May 1535) was a Carthusian hermit and Catholic priest and the first English Catholic martyr to die as a result of the Act of Supremacy by King Henry VIII of England. He was also the first member of his Order to die as a martyr.

John Rochester (martyr)

Blessed John Rochester (c. 1498–1537) was an English Catholic priest, Carthusian monk and martyr. He was hanged at York for refusing to concede King Henry VIII's supremacy over the church.

Judas Barsabbas

Judas Barsabbas was a New Testament prophet and one of the 'leading men' in the early Christian community in Jerusalem at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in around 50 A.D.

Lawrence Cook

Lawrence Cook may refer to:

Lawrence Cook (actor) (1930–2003), American actor

Lawrence Cook (cricketer) (1884–1933), Lancashire medium-pace bowler

Lawrence Cook (footballer), English footballer

J. Lawrence Cook (1899–1976), piano roll artist

Lawrence Cook, one of the Carthusian Martyrs

London Charterhouse

The London Charterhouse is a historic complex of buildings in Smithfield, London, dating back to the 14th century. It occupies land to the north of Charterhouse Square, and lies within the London Borough of Islington.

The Charterhouse began as (and takes its name from) a Carthusian priory, founded in 1371 and dissolved in 1537. Substantial fragments remain from this monastic period, but the site was largely rebuilt after 1545 as a large courtyard house. Thus, today it "conveys a vivid impression of the type of large rambling 16th century mansion that once existed all round London".The Charterhouse was further altered and extended after 1611, when it became an almshouse and school, endowed by Thomas Sutton. The almshouse (a home for gentlemen pensioners) still occupies the site today under the name The Charterhouse; the school moved out in 1872 to Godalming, Surrey, where it survives as Charterhouse School (although its formal name does not include the word "school").

Margaret Clement

Margaret Clement or Clements (1508–1570), née Giggs, was one of the most educated women of the Tudor era and the foster daughter of Sir Thomas More.

Robert Lawrence (martyr)

St. Robert Lawrence (died 4 May 1535) was one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn for declining to sign the Oath of Supremacy. His feast day is 4 May.

Sebastian Newdigate

Sebastian Newdigate, O.Cart., (7 September 1500 – 19 June 1535) was the seventh child of John Newdigate, Sergeant-at-law. He spent his early life at court, and later became a Carthusian monk. He was executed for treason on 19 June 1535 for his refusal to accept Henry VIII's assumption of supremacy over the Church in England. His death was considered a martyrdom, and he was beatified by the Catholic Church.

Thomas Green

Thomas Green may refer to:

Sir Thomas Green (1461–1506), grandfather of Katherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII

Thomas Green (Blessed), one of the Carthusian martyrs

Thomas Green (bishop) (1658–1738), Bishop of Norwich

Thomas Green (captain) (1679/80–1705), English sailor and alleged pirate, hanged in Scotland

Thomas Green (footballer) (1883–?), English footballer

Thomas Green (general) (1814–1864), Confederate general after whom Tom Green County, Texas was named

Thomas Green (geologist) (c. 1738–1788), English geologist and Woodwardian Professor of Geology

Thomas Greene (governor) (1609–1651), Second Provincial Governor of Maryland

Thomas Green, printer of colonial Connecticut, started the Hartford Courant newspaper in 1764

Thomas D. Green (1848–1935), early Canadian amateur ice hockey player

Thomas Hill Green (1836–1882), English philosopher

Thomas Jefferson Green (1802–1863), American politician

Thomas H. Green (1889–1971), American military officer

Thomas M. Green Sr. (1723–1805), colonel in the American Revolutionary War

Thomas M. Green Jr. (1758–1813), delegate to the United States Congress from Mississippi Territory

Thomas R.G. Green (born 1941), British cognitive scientist

Thomas F. Green (1927–2006), American educational theorist and philosopher

Fred Clifton (1844–1903), English opera singer and actor born as Thomas Huslea Green

Thomas Johnson (monk)

Thomas Johnson, O.Cart., (died 20 September 1537) was a Carthusian hermit who was executed by starvation in Tudor England. He is venerated as a martyr and has been beatified by the Catholic Church.

William Exmew

William Exmew, O.Cart., (died Tyburn, 19 June 1535) was an English Catholic priest and Carthusian hermit. He died while imprisoned under King Henry VIII and is honored as a martyr by the Catholic Church. Exmew and his brother Carthusian martyrs were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December 1886.

William Greenwood

William Greenwood may refer to:

Will Greenwood (born 1972), rugby player

William Greenwood (Blessed), one of the Carthusian Martyrs, executed 1537

William Greenwood (politician) (1875–1925), MP for Stockport

Bill Greenwood (baseball) (1857–1902), baseball player

William Greenwood (cricketer) (1798–1872), English cricketer

William Osborne Greenwood (1873–1947), British surgeon and a minister of religion

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