Today the church honors often overlooked saints, but ones close to my heart, The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea.
I know…you’ve never heard of them, which is too bad.
They’re relatively recent additions to the calendar of commemorations, added in the late 70’s.
When the Axis Powers invaded New Guinea in 1942, a number of the European missionaries on the island nation had already been called back to their countries of origin.
The Anglican Bishop of New Guinea, Philip Strong, challenged his clergy to remain with the people. Eight missionaries and two Papuan laymen were betrayed to the Axis Powers and martyred in August of 1942 for their defiance and insubordination.
In 1948 the Martyrs Memorial School was opened in Sangara as a living memorial to these brave souls. The school continues today and can be found in Agenahambo.
Often included in this memorial day are the 15 Lutheran 24 Methodist, and 168 Roman Catholic Missionaries in Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and the Solomon Islands who died during the WW II.
-historical pieces gleaned from Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals & Commemorations