The Templar Knight

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Saint Lucy with her eyes on a plate

One of many Christian saints reputedly martyred by the emperor Diocletian – Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind. Appropriately, as she either had her eyes gouged out by a Roman soldier or tore out her own eyes…

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The spooky crypt in a Portuguese Franciscan church

Igreja de São Francisco – or the church of Saint Francis in English – is  a fascinating place. In the first quarter of the 13th century, Franciscans started to build a church and cloister. Over the next two hundred years,…

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Franciscan friars who begged Muslims for martyrdom

I was in Porto, Portugal a few years back in the church of Saint Francis when I saw a gruesome image of a Saracen beheading a Franciscan friar – and another lying on the ground without his head.  Couldn’t resist…

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The more bizarre and strange saints

The Knights Templar were keen on their saint martyrs – the upper class Roman woman Euphemia for example, butchered in the arena during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian in the early fourth century AD. Many of these saints were…

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