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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Lucian Tapiedi and British Missionaries (1942)
Revered Martyrs

When the Japanese army reached Papua New Guinea in the summer of 1942 and ordered people to leave the northern coast, some missionaries chose to stay. Lucian Tapiedi, a Papuan evangelist, refused to abandon the missionaries with whom he worked. He was the son of a sorcerer but had converted to Christianity. After graduating in 1941 he joined the mission team as teacher and evangelist, carrying out a lot of work among his own people.

Before the group was forced to flee their mission station at Gona for the jungle in July, he shared the Eucharist together with the missionaries for the last time. They were captured by Orokaiva tribesmen with whom Lucian pleaded on behalf of the missionaries. But it was in vain and he was struck down with an axe and killed by one of the Orokaiva, a man named Hivijapa. The others were handed over to the Japanese, and were beheaded on Buna beach.

Their example led to the growth of a strong Papuan church, which particularly remembers Lucian’s witness. His killer converted to Christianity, took the name Hivijapa Lucian, and built a church dedicated to the memory of his victim at Embi.

O Lamb of God, who takest away the sin of the world, look upon us and have mercy upon us; thou who art thyself both Victim and Priest, thyself both Reward and Redeemer, keep safe from all evil those whom thou hast redeemed, O Saviour of the world.

Irenaeus of Lyon (c. 130-200)