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A Theological Study of Contemporary Martyrdom Through the Lens of Hans Urs Von Balthasar's Christology

Yun Hongmin, B.M.C. (Korea)

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) with concentration in Systematic Theology
Fr. Manuel Francisco, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)


The concept of martyrdom has been distorted over time, resulting in an ambiguous and misleading understanding of what constitutes genuine martyrdom. In contemporary society, suicide bombers and self-immolators are often regarded as martyrs, further complicating the definition. In the Christian faith, martyrdom has been reduced to an internal, affective matter, neglecting the importance of Christ’s suffering in reality. Hans Urs von Balthasar argues that without a proper understanding of the Paschal mystery, any spiritual or emotional attitude toward faith will result in a false renunciation of the world. Therefore, this thesis aims to re-examine the concept of martyrdom through Balthasar’s Christological lens. By exploring what truly makes a martyr a martyr, this study will consider the characteristics of contemporary martyrdom, the theological criteria of genuine Christian martyrdom, and how new, contemporary forms of martyrdom can be evaluated and interpreted. The significance of this research lies in identifying and distinguishing true martyrdom from other forms of death or sacrifice, giving the sacrifices made by true martyrs the recognition they deserve.

Final Defense:

March 27, 2023, Monday, 10:00 a.m. at DLC 201, 2/F Dela Costa Bldg., LST

Board of Examiners:

  1. Fr. Oliver Dy, S.J., S.T.D., Ph.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner)
  2. Fr. Manuel Francisco, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)
  3. Fr. Cristopher Fajardo, S.T.D. cand.

Proposal Defense:

16 March 2022, Wednesday, 3:00-4:15pm, Online via Zoom (hosted by Mr. Jerry Orio)

Board of Examiners:
1. Fr. Manuel Francisco, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)
2. Fr. Oliver Dy, S.J., S.T.D., Ph.D.
3. Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, S.J., S.T.L., Ph.D.

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Loyola School of Theology