Augustinian Martyrs of Spain

Bl. Avelino Rodríguez, O.S.A. and Companions

November 8

Illustration of the Augustinian Martyrs of Spain by János Hajnal in Il fascino di Dio: Profili de agiografia agostiniana by Fernando Rojo Martínez, O.S.A.  Copyright © 2000 Pubblicazioni Agostiniane Rome. Used with permission.  Original art preserved in the Office of Augustinian Postulator of Causes, Rome  Some information on this page is found in “Mártires Agustinos de España: Beatificación de nuestros mártires en Roma, 28 de octubre de 2007” in Participación, September, 2007, Published by Agustinos, Provincia de Castilla

Illustration of the Augustinian Martyrs of Spain by János Hajnal in Il fascino di Dio: Profili de agiografia agostiniana by Fernando Rojo Martínez, O.S.A.  Copyright © 2000 Pubblicazioni Agostiniane Rome. Used with permission.  Original art preserved in the Office of Augustinian Postulator of Causes, Rome

Some information on this page is found in “Mártires Agustinos de España: Beatificación de nuestros mártires en Roma, 28 de octubre de 2007” in Participación, September, 2007, Published by Agustinos, Provincia de Castilla

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a time of great difficulty for the Church in general, and for priests and friars in particular. More than 7000 priests, friars and nuns were martyred. Their crime: being a priest or religious. In addition, more than 3500 lay persons were martyred in witness to their Christian faith.

Besides Blessed Anselm Polanco, O.S.A., who was martyred in 1939, six groups of Augustinian friars totalling 98 men, gave their lives in witness to their Christian faith.

These six groups are:

  • Sixty-five friars from the Monastery of El Escorial, Madrid

  • Ten friars from the seminary at Udés, Cuenca

  • Six friars from the schools in Santander

  • Three friars from the Augustinian house in Gijón, Asturias

  • Four friars from the Augustinian community in Málaga

  • Ten mostly elderly or sick friars residing at the infirmary in Caudete, Albacete

The 98 Augustinian friars were a diverse group: young and old, professors and seminarians, preachers and manual laborers. But all were united in their unwavering faith, so strong that not even the prospect of a cruel death could move them to abandon Christ.

  • Monastery of El Escorial

    The community of El Escorial totaled 111 friars. Some of these friars lived in a separate house nearby in the city of Madrid, where they ministered to university students.

    Those who remained in the large Escorial Monastery were living almost as prisoners by July, 1936. Two schools located at the Monastery - Maria Christina University and Alfonso XII (primary and secondary) School - had been shut down. The church had been forced to close. None of the friars could leave the building.

    On August 5, 1936, while the community was at prayer in the Monastery chapel, some local officials came to the door. They informed the new Prior, Angel Custodio Vega, O.S.A., that on the following morning, everybody would be taken to Madrid.

    That evening, a special final supper was shared by the community. It was difficult not to be in a festive mood when they sat down to the meal. It was was similar to what would be served on a major feast like Christmas.

    Then the former Superior, Juan Monedero, O.S.A., spoke to the friars in a somber tone, telling them that the situation was grave, and that they should be prepared for what was to come.

    Very early the next morning, the community celebrated Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation together. Having been strengthened by the Eucharist, the friars were taken to Madrid in four buses or trucks. They were held in a school, Colegio San Antón, which had been converted into a prison.

    A few days later, several more friars who had been imprisoned elsewhere were taken to the school-prison. Among them was the Prior Provincial (regional superior), Avelino Rodríguez, O.S.A. When he arrived, he saw that the friars were supporting and encouraging each other. The youngest members of the community were well-coached especially by the older friars, and in particular Assistant General (assistant world leader) Mariano Revilla, O.S.A.

    The prisoners remained at this prison until the end of November. This was a time of great suffering and privation. Although the jailers would curse at the prisoners and threaten them with rifles and pistols, trying to force blasphemies from their mouths, not a single friar was intimidated into denying his faith.

    During the nights of November 28 and 30, 1936, the friars were “tried” and convicted by a sham court of the crime of being friars. They all affirmed that they were Augustinian friars from El Escorial Monastery, and refused to deny their Christian faith or cooperate in the atrocities of those who were persecuting the Church.

    The friars were tied together, loaded onto trucks and taken to Paracuellos de Jarama, where they were shot to death. A total of 65 friars from El Escorial were martyred.

    One of these martyrs, José López Piteira, O.S.A., a 23-year-old native of Jatibonico, Camaguey, Cuba, is the first person of Cuban origen to be beatified.

  • Seminary at Udés, Cuenca

    This seminary had a total of 115 professed friars and aspirants. They were expelled from from their house during the afternoon of June 24, 1936.

    Eight Augustinian friars were executed immediately, without any trial at all. Two others were imprisoned in Cuenca until September 21, 1936, the date of their martyrdom.

  • Schools in Santander

    Friars in Santander ministered at two schools: Colegio Cántabro and another school on Ruamayor St., where 400 children of poor workers were educated at no cost to them.

    Only one friar from Colegio Cántabro was martyred. His execution took place in Gijón.

    Of the ten friars at the Ruamayor location, five became martyrs.

    Expelled from their houses, the friars found lodging in rooming houses or in private homes. One by one they were arrested and executed for being friars or priests. The last one to be martyred was Epifanio Gómez, O.S.A. He was killed December 22, 1936. His body was discovered later at la Vendée, on the Atlantic coast of France.

  • Friary in Gijón, Asturias

    Augustinians at the Friary in Gijón ministered in schools and served as sacramental ministers, preachers, confessors and chaplains. Three friars from Gijón were martyred during the persecution. Like the friars of Santander, they were expelled from their house and arrested later at the places where they had found lodging.

  • The Community at Málaga

    Four Augustinians - two priests and two brothers - were martyred in Málaga. Forced to leave their house, they found lodging wherever they could. They secretly continued their pastoral work.

    While they were engaged in their ministries, they were arrested and martyred.

  • Infirmary in Caudete, Albacete

    Sixteen friars resided at the infirmary in Caudete. Most of them were in poor health.

    Five were arrested during the morning of July 23, 1936. The other 11 were arrested that afternoon. One was executed immediately. The others were imprisoned until August 5, when they became martyrs near Fuente la Higuera, Valencia.

The 98 Augustinian Martyrs of Spain

These are the names of all 98 of these Augustinian Martyrs of Spain:


Luis Abia Melendro
Benito Alcalde González
Pedro Alonso Fernández
Ramiro Alonso López
Florencio Alonso Ruiz

Bernardino Alvarez Melcón
Manuel Alvarez Rego
Dámaso Arconada Merino
Lorenzo Arribas Palacio
Antonio M. Arriaga Anduinza

Antolín Astorga Diez
Juan Baldajos Pérez
Felipe Barba Chamorro
Luis A. Blanco Alvarez
Bernardino Calle Franco

José A. Calleja del Hierro
Emilio Camino Noval
Pedro J. Carvajal Pereda
Miguel Cerezal Calvo
Eugenio Cernuda Febrero

Víctor Cuesta Villalba
José M. Dalmau Regas
Nemesio Diez Fernández
Anastasio Diez García
José Esnaola Urteaga

Matías Espeso Cuevas
José Agustín Fariña Castro
Manuel Formigo Giráldez
Francisco Fuentes Puebla
Víctor Gaitero González

José Gando Uña
Joaquín García Ferrero
Arturo García de la Fuente

Benito Garnelo Alvarez
Esteban García Suárez
Claudio J. García San Román
Nemesio García Rubio
Senén García González

Gerardo Gil Leal
Epifanio Gómez Alvaro
Marcos Guerrero Prieto
José Gutíerrez Arranz
Luis Gutíerrez Calvo

Diego Hompanera París
Miguel Iturrarán Laucirica
Froilán Lanereo Villadangos
Jesús Largo Manrique
Leoncio López García

José López Piteira
Constantino Malunbres Francés
Francisco Marcos del Río
Ricardo Marcos Reguero
Julio Marcos Rodríguez

Julio María Fincias
Román Martín Mata
Melchor Martínez Antuña
Jacinto Martínez Ayuela
Pedro Martínez Ramos

Isidro Mediavilla Campos
Heliodoro Merino Merino
Fortunato Merino Vegas
Nicolás de Mier Francisco
Juan Monedero Fernández

Severiano Montes Fernández
José Noriega González
Gabino Olaso Zabala

José Antonio Pérez García

Marcos Pérez Andrés
José Peque Iglesias
Gerardo Pascual Mata
Samuel Pajares García

Juan Pérez Rodríguez
Angel Pérez Santos
Cipriano Polo García
Luciano Ramos Villafruela
Agustín Renedo Martino

Mariano Revilla Rico
Ubaldo Revilla Rodríguez
Sabino Rodrigo Fierro
Avelino Rodríguez Alonso
Conrado Rodríguez Gutiérrez

Benito Rodríguez González
Lucinio Ruiz Valtierra
Vidal Ruiz Vallejo
Juan Sánchez Sánchez
Macario Sánchez López

Tomás Sánchez López
Primitivo Sandín Mifiambres
Miguel San Ramón Fernández
Enrique Serra del Chorro
Pedro Simón Ferrero

Luis Suárez Valdés
Dionisio Terceño Vicente
Máximo Valle García
Pedro de la Varga Delgado
Benito Velásco Velásco

Balbino Villaroel Villaroel
Julián Zarco Cuevas


The processes of beatification and canonization of the five groups of martyrs were begun at various times between 1950 and 1964. Diocesan investigations were concluded between 1955 and 1967. The Congregation of Saints combined the causes of the five groups in 1990 and officially recognized the validity of the unified cause in 1991.

The Ordinary Historical Meeting of the Congregation of Saints approved their designation as martyrs March 11, 2005. Then, on December 19, 2006, the Plenary Meeting of Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation gave additional approval of their beatification, and sent its recommendation to Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope on June 1, 2007 confirmed their martyrdom. These Augustinian martyrs, along with some 400 others, including lay Catholics, members of other religious institutes, priests and bishops, who gave their lives in witness to Christ, were beatified October 29, 2007. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause for canonization.