Pope Benedict XVI decreed the canonization; Pope Francis was stuck with it.
The BBC adds in a sidebar:
Otranto 14 August 1480
The `’Martyrs of Otranto” were 813 Italians beheaded for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity
The Turks had been sent by Mohammed II, who had already captured the “second Rome” of Constantinople
His fleet landed in Otranto, Italy’s easternmost city, and laid siege
Its citizens held out for two weeks, allowing the King of Naples to muster his forces and prevent the fall of Rome
Jihad Watch reader Bob writes in:
Otranto certainly demonstrates several things.
1. Muslim violence is not a result of poverty, Jews, Israel, or US policy and actions.
2. There is a centuries-long tradition of Muslim beheading. It didn’t start with Daniel Pearl.
3. Muslim attacks on Copts in Egypt are in keeping with centuries-long Muslim traditions
4. Christian martyrs are Christians killed by others. Muslim martyrs are Muslims who kill non-Muslims [and are killed in the process].
“Pope canonises 800 Italian Ottoman victims of Otranto,” from the BBC, May 12 (thanks to Bob):
Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony at the Vatican – a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.
They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.
Their names are unknown, apart from one man, Antonio Primaldo.
Within two months of taking office, Pope Francis has proclaimed more saints than any of his predecessors….
The Italian “Martyrs of Otranto” were executed after 20,000 Turkish soldiers invaded their town in south-eastern Italy.
There was no hint of any anti-Islamic sentiment in the homily that Pope Francis delivered before tens of thousands of worshippers gathered in St Peter’s Square, the BBC’s David Willey in Rome reports.
While it was Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict, who gave the go ahead for their canonisations, the new pope is continuing the process of honouring a new generation of modern as well as historic martyrs, our correspondent says….