Blessed Agathangelus and Cassian

Capuchin Martyrs

Agathangelus was born in Vendome in 1589 and Cassian in Nantes in 1607. Both received the habit of the Franciscan Order among the Capuchins and were sent to the african missions shortly after they had completed their studies. They met in Cairo. There they learned of the persecution of the Christians in Abyssinia. Filled with a desire to labour and suffer for Christ among their separated brethren, they went to that country.

They had scarcely begun their work when they were seized and put in chains. They languished in prison for the space of a month and then during another twenty five days they were dragged to Gondar amid unheard of treatment and during the extreme heat of July sun. The king intended to force them to renounce their faith.

Father Cassian replied with firm determination: "We wish to live and die as children of the Catholic, apostolic and Roman Church, outside of which there is no salvation. We do not wish to purchase our lives with the price of infamous apostasy. We do not wish to enjoy honours and riches, which you offer us at the price of our immortal souls".

Both confessors were then sentenced to be hanged. When the executioners were looking about for ropes, the two confessors, inflamed with a desire for martyrdom, called out: "If you need ropes, use our cords". So it was done. A few moments later the holy missionaries had won the crown of martyrdom. This happened on August 7th, 1638. Pope Pius X beatified them with great solemnity. Their feast is celebrated on August 7th.