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St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

Peter of Verona (1205 – 52) was the first canonized martyr of the Dominican Order. Born in Verona, Italy, of parents who had embraced the heresy of Cartharism, he was educated at the University of Bologna and was accepted into the Dominican Order by Dominic himself. Because the Dominicans were theologically trained preachers, the popes entrusted the Inquisition to them. In 1234 Peter was appointed inquisitor for the Milan area, and in 1251 his jurisdiction was extended to most of northern Italy. Although he attracted huge crowds with his preaching, as an inquisitor he also made enemies. He was martyred at the age of forty-seven. As he lay dying from the blow of a heretic’s ax, Peter dipped his finger into his blood and attempted to write on the ground, “I believed in one God,” His murderer Carino, renounced heresy, became a Dominican cooperator brother, and died with a reputation for sanctity.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.

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