In Uganda in 1886, Charles Lwanga led several men to faith in Jesus Christ. Then their king burnt Charles, nine Anglicans and twelve Catholics to death.
In the 1860s, in the kingdom of Buganda in Uganda, Karoli Lwanga was born. We know him as Charles Lwanga.
In his adult life, Charles was named an officer in the court of King Mwanga II in the kingdom of Buganda.
King Mwanga viewed the Christian faith as a foreign threat to his power. And he despised Christian men because they refused to enter into sexual activity with him.
So he ordered Christians to renounce their faith. And he executed those who refused.
On November 15, 1885, the king executed the chief officer of his royal court, a Catholic and lay catechist named Joseph Mukasa.
The king named Charles Lwanga as the replacement. That very day, Charles found a missionary priest named Simeon Lourdel and asked to be baptized.
In May of 1886, the king executed two more officers of his royal court. Shortly afterwards, Charles secretly baptized five of his fellow officers.
Then the king required his officers to declare whether they were Christians or not. Charles led them in affirming that they were.
On June 3, 1886, after a 37-mile trek to Namugongo, nine Anglicans and twelve Catholics were burnt to death.
They died calling on the name of Jesus and proclaiming:
You can burn our bodies, but you cannot harm our souls.
Charles Lwanga is a hero of the faith and a martyr.
The Memorial of Charles Lwanga and Companions is observed each year on June 3.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.