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Friday, March 6, 2015

Martyrs 22h: Diaz – sad tearful spectacle; The Antichrist: The Roman Pope-murderer; Chapter 7

      This continues from Part 22g (TOC in Part 1a, Diaz TOC in Part 22a) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  —  Part 22h presents the final details of the assassination of Juan Diaz as if they were happening in the present tense, as if you and I were there as onlookers to the whole scene... a dramatic account.  It was especially dramatic as it seem that I too was there with Juan's friends, looking down at the "sad, tearful spectacle" of his body lying on the floor.  ... But I had difficulty translating it in the present tense and so changed it to the past tense.  
Some highlighting added hyperlinks added for reference.
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by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
XXII.(h)
Juan Diaz.
Juan Diaz is treacherously murdered by his own brother Alfonso.
Neuburg-Augsburg-Pöttmes map

Meanwhile, however, Alfonso had gone only to Augsburg.  There he sought to restrain his present wagon driver with all sorts of made-up stories, but he himself hit the road again in the early morning of March 26 back to Neuburg.  But the driver caught up with him in Pöttmes, a small town in between Augsburg and Neuburg. There it now became necessary to devise new lists to stifle the growing suspicion of the driver.  Pretending that he had to provide important letters by him to Juan, but that he had yet to write, he was able to have the driver stay on his side.  In the afternoon Alfonso bought an ax at a wheelwright shop.  Then, after he had taken fresh horses and left the Neuburg driver in Pöttmes, he rode fast to Feldkirchen, a village located fifteen minutes from Neuburg, in the company of his henchman and Augsburg messenger, where they stayed overnight.
With the dawn of March 27, 1546, the three [page 170] were already at the gates [of Neuburg]. They tied the horses to a fence and gave the care of them to the Augsburg messenger.  In order to remain undetected, the executioner changed his clothes with those of the messenger.  No sooner had the door opened that  Alfonso and the executioner rushed into the city; the servant went in front because he was experienced in such matters of carrying out murder, the master remained behind in order to possibly render necessary assistance with force.
That night the pious Juan had, as Senarcle reported, spent a long time on his knees in fervent prayer. And when he went to bed, he exhorted his friend Senarcle to consider the works of God and take pains for true godliness.
There the murderer came to the house of the pastor of Neuburg, in which Juan lived.  Here everyone was asleep.  The executioner knocked on the door.  Finally the brother of the pastor, a fine young man, opened it.  The executioner asked him where Juan was, as he had to deliver letters from his brother.  The terrible act was almost thwarted at the last moment and the murderer unmasked because the brother of the pastor was struck by the disguise, and so he asked him what he was all about.  But the assassin drove the youth to wake the still sleeping Juan because his business would suffer no delay.
Once Juan heard of the letters from his brother, he jumped out of bed, threw on a light cloak, and entered the adjoining larger room to receive the messenger.  Then the executioner was led up by the youth.   Alfonso stopped at the bottom of the stairs to prevent any disruption.  Although the murderer now was facing his innocent victim, yet the presence of the young man who had opened the door stopped him.  However, he was removed with the order to get a jug with fresh water.
Now Juan took the letter from the hand of the executioner in which Alfonso reminded him to guard against the snares of Malvenda, the imperial confessor and other enemies of Christ. Because it was not yet quite day, he went to the window to see it more clearly.  Thus, while his mind was occupied, the ruthless killer sneaked up behind him and struck him with the hatchet, which he had hidden under his coat, up to the hilt in the right side of the head, near the [page 171] temple.  Without giving a cry of pain of himself, Juan sank.  The murderer caught the falling body and let him down gently to the floor so that no noise would be heard.  The murderer now hurried to the awaiting Alfonso and both fled out of the house as fast as they could.
Meanwhile Senarcle arose from bed by an anxious notion, and as he was going into the larger room to his friend, he could still hear the clanking spurs of the killer on the stairs.  As he opened the door, he saw to his unspeakable horror the dear martyr lying on the floor in his blood, with the weapon of death in his head.  Initially he could not speak because of terror; his wailing then aroused the house, and all gathered around the sad, tearful spectacle.  Since the late Juan was still breathing, with eyes looking up heavenward and with folded hands, as if he was calling on God's mercy. Whenever he heard mention the name of God, he made a sign with his eyes that he understood him. After an hour he had breathed his last.
So had the glorious and holy martyr of Jesus Christ, Juan Diaz, been treacherously murdered by his own brother, this godless Popish Cain, because he did not worship the Antichrist, the Roman Pope and that mark of the beast, that is, did not want to accept the Popish doctrine.  What he had longed so often to do, to confirm the heavenly truth, the pure Evangelical - Lutheran doctrine, with his blood, he has done. I [Pastor Fick] adorned the glorious martyr's crown, he triumphs in Heaven among those who have overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, Revelation 12:11.
Once this crime which cried to heaven became known, the Lutheran authorities made every effort to deliver the deserved punishment to the criminals.  The Count Palatine Otto Heinrich had them immediately pursued and captured in Innsbruck.  The Lutheran princes and states pressed the emperor that he would punish the murderers.  But all their ideas were only in vain. The Pope, together with his cardinals, took it as meaning that the brother-murderer was freed.  This he shared unabashedly with his bloody comrades at Trent, without raising a shudder from the papal bishops.  Indeed, in Rome he was received with joy. [page 172]  And when he finally returned to his homeland, he was admitted to the company of men of rank and education, who listened attentively to him when he told them the particulars of his horrific crime in a cold tone.
Sepulveda, a Spanish historian reported: "The news of the murder was not unpleasant with any of our compatriots."  Another Spanish historian, Herrera, noted that Alfonso had to undergo great dangers because of his act; but a man who loves honor cannot be confused if he is led by godliness!
= = = = = = = = = = = = = =   Annotations in Part 22i   = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

There is a detail that is not reported by Fick, that at least 2 other sources mention: Alfonso Diaz committed suicide:
  1. German Wikipedia article on Juan Diaz here, and
  2. John E. Longhurst's book (non-Lutheran) on Spanish Lutherans, Part One, Chapter 5, page 81: "...a brief reference to one Alfonso Diaz, cleric at Rome, who committed suicide (I think) about 1555"
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Did you hear the roar of Pastor Hermann Fick as he summed up the history of Juan Diaz?
"So was the glorious and holy martyr of Jesus Christ, Juan Diaz, treacherously murdered by his own brother, this godless Popish Cain, because he did not worship the Antichrist, the Roman Pope and that mark of the beast, that is, did not want to accept the Popish doctrine."
 Do you hear Pastor Fick feel honored to present this history?
"I adorned the glorious martyr's crown, he triumphs in Heaven ..."
Oh, dear Pastor Fick, so I adorned your history that adorned the glorious martyr's crown of... Juan Diaz.  May his memory be renewed once again, as the dear Pastor Fick renewed it in 1854, now in this year 2015.  A thousand times I would not want the fate of Juan Diaz, and yet his God is my God; also the God of Hermann Fick is my God... and so I see that He is a God who does not desert us, but stands with us in our tribulations.  The Bible tells me so.  Amen!
      In the next Part 22i is the Annotations for Fick's sources of information which also adds to this history of Juan Diaz.

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