Carthusian Martyrs

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

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.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.


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.


Contemplation is profound thinking about something. In a religious sense, contemplation is usually a type of prayer or meditation.

Prayer invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship, typically a deity, through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity, or a deified ancestor. More generally, prayer can also have the purpose of thanksgiving or praise, and in comparative religion is closely associated with more abstract forms of meditation and with charms or spells.

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]

Bohemia Historical land in Czech Republic

Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

Prague Capital city

| mapsize = 230px | pushpin_map_caption = Location within the Czech Republic##Location within Europe | pushpin_map = Czech Republic#Europe | pushpin_relief = 1 | coordinates = 50°05′N14°25′E | subdivision_type = Country | subdivision_name = Czech Republic | established_title = Founded | established_date = 7th century | leader_party = Pirates | leader_title = Mayor | leader_name = Zdeněk Hřib | area_footnotes = | area_urban_km2 = 298 | elevation_footnotes = | elevation_min_m = 177 | population_blank2_title = Nationality | population_blank2 = 64.8% Czech
35.2% Other / undefined | population_total = 1301132 | population_as_of = 2018 | population_footnotes = | population_density_km2 = 4,600 | population_metro = 2,619,490 | population_demonym = Praguer | postal_code_type = Postal code | postal_code = 100 00 – 199 00 | area_code = | area_code_type = ISO 3166-2 | iso_code = CZ-10 | registration_plate = A | website = | elevation_max_m = 399 | timezone = CET | utc_offset = +1 | timezone_DST = CEST | utc_offset_DST = +2 | blank_name = GDP (nominal) | blank_info = 2017 | blank1_name = – Total | blank1_info = €49 billion
PPP: $93 billion | blank2_name = – Per capita | blank2_info = €37,900
PPP: $72,000 | blank3_name = HDI (2017) | blank3_info = 0.956 – very high }} Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

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.

English Reformation Separation of the Church of England from the Pope of Rome

The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider process of the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of Christianity across western and central Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the process: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible, and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, the upper and middle classes and readers in general. However, the various phases of the English Reformation, which also covered Wales and Ireland, were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion gradually accommodated itself.

London Charterhouse historic complex of buildings in Smithfield, London

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.

Pope Leo XIII 256th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Leo XIII was head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death. He was the oldest pope, and had the third-longest confirmed pontificate, behind that of Pius IX and John Paul II.

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]

Dutch Revolt war in the 16th century

The Dutch Revolt (1568–1648) was the revolt of the northern, largely Protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic Habsburg King Philip II of Spain, hereditary ruler of the provinces. The northern provinces (Netherlands) eventually separated from the southern provinces, which continued under Habsburg Spain until 1714.

Delft City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam, to the southeast, and The Hague, to the northwest. Together with them, it is part of both Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.

Roermond Town and municipality in Limburg, Netherlands

Roermond is a city, a municipality, and a diocese in the southeastern part of the Netherlands.

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]

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Rochefort, Charente-Maritime Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Rochefort is a commune in southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a sub-prefecture of the Charente-Maritime department.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

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:

See also

Related Research Articles

Carthusians religious order

The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of Saint Bruno, is a Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics. The order was founded by Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The order has its own Rule, called the Statutes, rather than the Rule of Saint Benedict, and combines eremitical and cenobitic monasticism.

Grande Chartreuse monastery

Grande Chartreuse is the head monastery of the Carthusian religious order. It is located in the Chartreuse Mountains, north of the city of Grenoble, in the commune of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (Isère), France.


The Camaldolese monks and nuns are two different, but related, monastic communities that trace their lineage to the monastic movement begun by Saint Romuald.

Augustine Webster English martyr

Saint Augustine Webster 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.

John Houghton (martyr) English Carthusian hermit and Catholic martyr

Saint John Houghton, O.Cart., 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.

Thomas Johnson, O.Cart., 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.

John Rochester (martyr) English Catholic priest

Blessed John Rochester 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.

William Exmew Carthusian monk and martyr

William Exmew, O.Cart., 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.

Humphrey Middlemore English Catholic priest and Carthusian hermit, who was executed for treason during the Tudor period. He is considered a martyr by the Catholic Church

Humphrey Middlemore, O.Cart, 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.

Sebastian Newdigate Carthusian monk and martyr

Sebastian Newdigate, O.Cart., 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.

Carthusian Martyrs of London group of humans

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.

Robert Lawrence (martyr) English Carthusian martyr

St. Robert Lawrence 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.

The Order of Saint Basil the Great also known as the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat is a monastic religious order of the Greek Catholic Churches that is present in many countries and that has its Mother House in Rome. The order received approbation on August 20, 1631 and was based at the Holy Trinity monastery in Vilnius. Its monks, brothers, and priests work primarily with Ukrainian Catholics and are also present in other Greek-Catholic churches in central and eastern Europe.

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War is the name given by the Catholic Church to the people who were killed by Republicans during the Spanish Civil War because of their faith. More than 6,800 clergy and religious were killed in this "Red Terror". As of March 2019, 1,900 Spanish martyrs have been beatified; 11 of them being Canonized. For some two thousand additional martyrs, the beatification process is underway.

Martyrs of Compiègne Carmelite nuns guillotined during the French Revolution

The Martyrs of Compiègne were the 16 members of the Carmel of Compiègne, France: 11 Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters, and two externs. During the French Revolution, they refused to obey the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government, which mandated the suppression of their monastery. They were guillotined on 17 July 1794, during the Reign of Terror and buried in a mass grave at Picpus Cemetery.

Dom Bede Camm, O.S.B., (1864-1942) was an English Benedictine monk and martyrologist. He is best known for his many works on the English Catholic martyrs, which helped to keep their memories alive in the newly reemerging Catholic Church of Victorian England.

Saint Joseph Charterhouse

Saint Joseph Charterhouse is a Carthusian monastery dedicated to Saint Joseph which is located in the city of Deán Funes, Córdoba, in Argentina. It is the third Carthusian monastery in the Americas and the second in Latin America.

Certosa di Farneta

The Certosa di Farneta is a cloistered Carthusian monastery (charterhouse) just north of Lucca, region of Tuscany, Italy.

Blessed John Haile was an elderly secular priest who was vicar of Isleworth Middlesex in the early 16th century; his significance in history, like that of many of the English martyrs, begins only with the events which led to his death.


  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.