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The Otranto Martyrs

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: On July 28, 1480, citizens of Otranto, Italy, spied a large Turkish fleet approaching their coasts. Otranto, an amiable town around the tip of the heel of the Italian “boot,” had long been an important port. Ita strategic position, however, also made it susceptible to attacks from across the Adriatic Sea – particularly from Turkish raiders who often scoured the coasts of Italy. By that time, the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire had become very powerful. Less than thirty years earlier, in 1453, its troops had taken over Constantinople, putting the final nail to the coffin of the Roman Empire that had survived in the East. Proud of his achievements, Sultan Mehmed II entertained dreams of expanding to the west. Most likely, Gedik Ahmet Pasha, leader of the Turkish fleet that was moving in the direction of Otranto, shared his sultan’s dream. Its fleet was impressive: 150 ships carrying 18,000 soldiers. This was not meant to be

Pomponio Algerio and His Resolute Faith

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: Most tourists to Rome stop by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers, in Piazza Navona. Some drop a coin in the water and make a wish. Hardly anyone is aware that in the same square a young Italian man was boiled in a cauldron of oil, pitch, and turpentine for his religious convictions. And yet, the man’s young age, stubborn refusal to recant, and astonishing composure during that final, agonizing ordeal, have contributed to imprint his name in the history of the Protestant Reformation. Algerio was born around 1531 in Nola, near Naples, Italy - the same birth-place of another famous dissenter, Giordano Bruno. That general area was also where a Spanish Reformer, Juan De Valdes, held a Protestant-leaning conventicle. Quite possibly, Algerio had already been exposed to dissenting ideas by the time he moved to the university of Padova (or Padua, as it is known outside of Italy). In Padova, he lived with other stu