“Martyrdom is the voluntary suffering or acceptance of death because of faith in Christ or (because of) another virtue related to God”. This is how Pope Benedict XIV, defines “martyrdom” as applicable to a Cause of Declaration of Martyrdom.1 At the time when the Pope was defining the importance elements of martyrdom, Devasahayam Pillai was executed at Aralvaimozhy, thus perhaps providing the Church an immediate example of a Cause!
Two elements must be proved so that a Servant of God may be declared a martyr: First, that the Servant of God was really killed by an action provoked or carried out by the persecutor. The tortures and suffering may add more merit to martyrdom, but it is necessary to prove that a killing took place and that the Servant of God really died.
Secondly, it is also necessary to establish with moral certainly that the killer acted out of hatred for faith in Christ.2 The purpose of this section is to establish the first among these two, namely, historical facts as they happened in connection with the death of the Servant of God Devasahayam Pillai, in order to prove the historicity of his death and the way it was inflicted on him. Our purpose, in other words, is to answer the question: What are the historical events connected to the persecution and the killing of Devasahayam Pillai? Chapter 1 will explain the phases of persecution until death. In Chapter 2 the kinds of tortures suffered by the Servant of God will be described.