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St. Berard & Companions, Protomartyrs, 1st Franciscan Martyrs
In the year 1219, Berard, Peter, Adjute, Accurs, and Odo left Italy to preach the gospel to Muslims in Morocco. Upon arrival, they were apprehended and ordered to leave the country. Refusing, they continued to preach, whereupon the sultan ordered them to be executed. They were taken into custody and sent off to Morocco where they continued to preach. Apprehended once more in the city of Marrakesch, they were put in chains, cruelly tortured and finally condemned to death by the king of the region in the year 1220. On January 16, 1220 they became the first Franciscan martyrs.