Argentina Celebrates Its First Blessed Martyrs

The first Argentine martyrs were beatified last Saturday, July 2, in a ceremony celebrated in the diocese of Nueva Oran, by Cardinal Semeraro.

Newsroom (03/07/2022 5:28 PM, Gaudium Press) The beatification of the first martyrs of the country took place in the diocese of Nueva Oran, Argentina. They are priests Pedro Ortiz de Zárate and Juan Antonio Solinas.

The Mass was presided by the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, at 10 o’clock local time.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina, Archbishop Miroslaw Adamczyk, the Bishop of Nueva Oran, Bishop Antonio Scozzina and 24 other Bishops of Argentina also attended the celebration.

During the ceremony, Pope Francis’ apostolic letter declaring the two priests Blessed was read. The liturgical memory of the Blessed will be celebrated on October 27, the day on which the Blessed knew martyrdom.

Father Pedro Ortiz de Zárate and Jesuit Juan Antonio Solinas are known as the martyrs of “Zenta”, the name of the valley where they were killed by the indigenous people.

“It was the missionary impulse that brought them to a mutual encounter. Together they placed themselves at the service of the Gospel and were faithful even to the shedding of blood,” said Cardinal Marcello Semeraro.

Pedro Ortiz de Zárate

Pedro Ortiz de Zárate was born on June 29, 1622, in the Argentine city of Jujuy. Raised in a family of notables, founders of the town and very pious, Pedro felt attracted to the priesthood from an early age. However, at the age of 17, he married and had two children.

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After ten years of marriage, Peter became a widower. He then decided to enter the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in 1657 and took charge of the parish of Jujuy for 24 years.

Juan Antonio Solinas

Juan Antonio Solinas was born in Sardinia, Italy, in 1643. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in 1663 and was ordained in 1673.

The following year, Juan Antonio Solinas set out to evangelize the indigenous peoples in northern Argentina and south-eastern Bolivia.


In 1683, a peace expedition was created to contact the indigenous population in northern Argentina.

The two priests, Pedro Ortiz and Solinas, accompanied by 18 other lay people, made first contact with the indigenous population.

However, a hundred or so natives of the Tobas and Moscovis tribes attacked the missionaries’ camp.

The priests refused the intervention of the Spanish soldiers, saying: “We have come to convert the infidels, not kill them.” The two missionaries and 18 lay people, including some indigenous converts, were killed on October 27, 1683 in the valley of Zenta. (FM)

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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