Japan’s oldest church which was built to commemorate the 26 martyred Christians crucified in 1597 has been nominated as a World Heritage Site.

Christiantoday.com reports that the Oura church in Nagasaki is one of several sites in Japan which witnessed Christian persecution. During the Edo period from 1603 to 1868, Christians in Japan faced terrible attacks and it is believed that up to 6,000 martyrs have died between 1614-1640.

For many years, the Christian church was thought to be extinct. However in 1865, after Japan opened its borders, villagers from a village near Nagasaki visited a newly-built Catholic church and told the priest of that church that they remained Christians for generations in secret. After 250 years of secrecy, they revealed that they preserved old rosaries and prayed in old Portuguese and Latin. Later on, it was discovered that tens of thousands “Hidden Christians” had survived.

The Oura church is nominated as a possible World Heritage Site along with several other Christian sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto.

Christiantodaycom. (2016). Christiantodaycom. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/japan.church.commemorating.26.crucified.christians.may.become.unesco.world.heritage.site/91463.htm

Christianheadlinescom. (2016). ChristianHeadlinescom. http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/japan-s-oldest-church-built-to-commemorate-26-christians-martyrs-may-become-world-heritage-site.html

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