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The 20th Century Martyrs. Westminster Abbey, London. The statue of Lucian Tapiedi, by Tim Crawley, stands second from right.

Lucian Tapiedi (c. 1921 – 1942) was a Papuan Anglican teacher who was one of the "New Guinea Martyrs." The Martyrs were eight Anglican clergy, teachers, and medical missionaries killed by the Japanese in 1942 (a total of 333 church workers of all denominations were killed during the invasion).


Early lifeEdit

Tapiedi was born around 1921,"the nephew of a suspected sorcerer of Taupota village in Milne Bay district",[1] on the north coast of Papua, and was educated at mission schools, where he was influenced by Nita Inman, the schoolteacher, and the Reverend Edwin Nuagoro,[2] a Papuan priest.[1] In 1939, he entered St Aidan's Teacher Training College at Dogura and in 1941 he became part of the staff at Sangara as a teacher and evangelist.


On 4 January 1942 the Japanese initiated the invasion of Papua New Guinea with the Battle of Rabaul. The Anglican Bishop of New Guinea (then a diocese of the ecclesiastical Province of Queensland), Philip Strong, instructed Anglican missionaries to remain at their posts. Tapiedi and 10 others, evading the Japanese, came to a village inhabited by the Orokaiva people, and found themselves escorted away by men of that tribe. A man named Hivijapa killed Tapiedi with an axe near a stream by Kurumbo village. The remainder of the group perished soon after; six of them were beheaded by the Japanese on Buna beach.[3] Another source says Tapiedi was "axed to death by the natives after he had returned to retrieve the station records box and some money."[4]


A statue of Tapiedi is installed among the niches with other 20th-century Christian martyrs over the west door of Westminster Abbey in London. His killer, taking the name Hivijapa Lucian, later converted to Christianity. He built a church dedicated to the memory of his victim, which grew to a diocesan center. However, the original building at Higatury was destroyed when Mount Lamington erupted on 21 January 1951 during a diocesan meeting, with considerable loss of life, so the church and center were rebuilt at Popondetta. Another church taking Lucian Tapiedi as its patronal saint is St Lucian's Six Mile[5] in the Six Mile Settlement of Port Moresby, north of Jacksons International Airport.

Tapiedi's grave is at Sangara station.


The Martyrs of New Guinea are honored with memorial and feast days on many church calendars of the Anglican Communion.


  1. ^ a b Jones Taugaloidi (Martyrs Day in 2004). "MARTYRS OF NEW GUINEA". Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2008-10-26. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Diane, Langmore (1 January 1989). "Missionary lives : Papua, 1874-1914". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Lucian Tapiedi". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  4. ^ Revd Dr Scott Cowdell (2004-08-31). "New Guinea Martyrs". St Paul's Anglican Church, Canberra. Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  5. ^ Michie, Trevor. "Service Times of the Anglican Diocese of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea". Retrieved 8 March 2017.

External linksEdit