Blessed Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and Martyr

Bernard Mizeki was born about the year 1861 in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). In his early teens, he escaped from his native land and went to Capetown, South Africa. There he was befriended and converted by Anglican missionaries, receiving Holy Baptism on March 9, 1886. In 1891, he volunteered as a catechist for what was a pioneer mission in Mashonaland, and was stationed at Nhowe. He won the hearts of those with whom he came into contact, and proved to be an effective missionary, bringing many to the Christian faith. In June, 1896, an uprising of the native people took place against Europeans and any Africans thought to be connected to them. Bernard was marked out as a special target due to his close association with those missionaries who had come from abroad, especially the monks of the Anglican Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE). Although he was warned to flee for his safety, he refused, saying that he would not abandon his converts at the mission station. In a raid on the mission compound, he was stabbed to death.

In 1996, on the occasion of the centennial of Bernard’s death, a great celebration of his life and witness drew many thousands to the shrine near his place of martyrdom. The Anglican Churches of Central and South Africa honor Blessed Bernard Mizeki as their primary native martyr and witness. His Feast Day is June 18th.

A Collect for the Feast of Blessed Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example and be aided by his prayers; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

[adapted from "Lesser Feasts and Fasts” by ATKZ+]


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This page last modified on Friday, April 11, 2008 09:40 PM