Witnesses to the Truth: The True Martyrdom of the Servants of God

The Contemporary Record


The interrogation of the seven youths began on July 20, 1598, and was concluded on July 29. Following the determination of the judge that, of the seven young men questioned, only Lucas, the son of the cacique ofTupiqui, was clearly implicated in the rebellion and the slaying of the five friars. By the judge's sentence, he was hanged in the public square of San Juan del Pinillo.


The term "Document" used here signifies the Report on the Death of the Five Franciscan Religious which took place in the Province of Guale in September, 1597, and the Examination of seven Indian youths in connection with that event, as well as the Sentence of Condemnation pronounced against Lucas in July of 1598. It offers a complete and official summary of all aspects of the case, drawn up in the course of that month of July of that year. Intended for the information of the monarch, King Philip II, and his Council, there can be some doubt whether or not it was brought to the personal attention of the King, whose death was to occur on September 13 of that year. The original missive is, of course, not available, though it is presumed to be in existence still and preserved with other historical documents in Spain. An official copy, however, is preserved in the Archivo General de Indias, Patronato 19. That authenticated document has been reproduced by modern scholars at least twice: in I 933 (Relación Historica de La Florida Escrita en el siglo XVII, Atanasio López, O.F.M., Vol. II, pp. 13-23); and in 1955 ("Mártires Franciscanos de Georgia, Informes y Relaciones sobre su muerte," Ignacio Omaechevarria, O.F.M., in Missionalia Hispanica. Año XII, Num. 35, pp. 327-340). Both the López and the Omaechevarria reproductions are in harmony on all essential details.

It is appropriate to note, however, that the earlier (López) version preferentially utilizes all the archaic forms and spellings of the original source, whereas the Omaechevarria reproduction uses spellings more consistent with the present-day usage. Certain minor orthographic differences also occur (e.g., dexo as against deja). Antiquated principles of capitalization for nouns and pronouns are common in López, who also feels at liberty to omit unimportant routine and banal expressions (such as the full titles of some dignitaries who are mentioned), as also some minor indications of place or time. In the López version lengthy circumlocutions are sometimes compressed or omitted entirely, with no indication that a summary is being substituted. In general, the Omaechevarria version is the more satisfactory. It is the one used for our analysis.

The interrogation of the seven youths began on July 20, 1598, and was concluded on July 29. Following the determination of the judge that, of the seven young men questioned, only Lucas, the son of the cacique of Tupiqui, was clearly implicated in the rebellion and the slaying of the five friars. By the judge's sentence, he was hanged in the public square of San Juan del Pinillo.

”Rule of l221," ch. 16:10-11, in The Writings of Saint Francis, trans. Ignatius Brady (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1983) 77. Henceforth, Brady.

St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis, chap. 12: I, trans. Benen Fahy in Marion A. Habig (ed.), St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis, 4lh rev. ed. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983), 721. Cited henceforth as Omnibus.

Ibid., chap. 3:1, pp. 646-47.

Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis, chap. JO: 29, trans. Placid Hermann in Omnibus, 247.

Ibid., chap. I 5, p. 258.

Bonaventure, Major Life, chap. 9:5, in Omnibus, 701.

St. Francis, "Letter Addressed to the Whole Order," in Brady, 121.

CREDIT: REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
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REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
The First Georgia Missions: Our Southern Catholic Heritage, Dr. Paul Thigpen and Katherine Ragan. Illustrations by Pamela Gardner, based on the retablo by Dan Nichols. This retablo is part of the parish patrimony of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Jasper, Georgia

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