Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino proclaimed a saint in the Catholic Church. He died as a martyr in the 17th century.


Lorenzo Ruiz was born in about 1600 in the Philippines to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother, both of them Catholics. He was educated by the Dominicans and married, fathering three children.

One day, he was accused of having murdered a Spaniard, a serious crime during the days of Spanish rule on the island. The accusation was false but Ruiz fled the island to Japan. In those days, Christians in Japan were undergoing persecution. Lorenzo arrived in Japan with three Dominicans and they were arrested and spent a long period in prison, they were tortured but refused to renounce their Christian faith. Before his death, while he was hanging from a tree, head down and dying of suffocation, he said: "I wholeheartedly accept death for the Lord; if I have a thousand lives, all of them I will offer to Him".

Lorenzo Ruiz was beatified during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Manila in 1981. The same Pope proclaimed him a saint in 1987.