Heaven Sends a Sign to Warn the King of Arima That a Great Persecution of Catholics in Japan Was Approaching

December 10, 2020

Our European priests who undertook to evangelize Japan were at first very successful; but in the year 1586 God made known by several signs the approach of a long and bloody persecution that was menacing the rising church. Among these signs the following is particularly remarkable.

The King of Arima, named Protasius, a good and zealous Christian, had a vision in which there appeared to him two persons of celestial exterior, who thus spoke to him: “Know that on the lands over which you rule the sign of Jesus is found; honor and love it much, for it is not the work of man.”

Protasius, King of Arima. Photo by 治済

Six months afterwards, it happened that a fervent Christian, by the name of Leo, from the neighborhood of Arima, sent his son Michael to the woods for the purpose of cutting firewood. On his arrival the young man perceived a tree that was somewhat dried up, of the kind called in that country Tara. He cut it down, split it in two, and found inserted in the middle of it a cross of a brown color and of a regular form. At the sight of this prodigy everyone was struck with astonishment. As soon as the king heard of this, he went himself to the place, and seeing the cross he cried out: “Behold the sign of Jesus, that I was told was hidden in my dominions, and that was not made by the hand of man.” He then fell on his knees, and after having venerated it amidst many tears, he had it carried to Arima, where by his order it was framed in a magnificent crystal. This miraculous cross brought about the conversion of twenty thousand idolatrous inhabitants of this country.


Rev. Eugene Grimm, ed. Victories of the Martyrs, vol. 9, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1888), 316–7.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 756



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