On July 9, 1860, eight Franciscan friars and three Maronite payment in Damascus were offered a choice: convert to Islam, or suffer death. 

At the time, thousands of Maronite Christians had been killed by the Druz, an offshoot sect of Shiite Islam, in Southern Lebanon. The Druz then turned their attention to Damascus, where they killed another two thousand Christians.

When the Druz reached the Franciscan convent in Damascus, the superior, Fr. Emmanuel Ruiz, was threatened with death if he did not convert immediately. 

Fr. Ruiz, who had been sheltering local Christians in the convent, refused to convert. The Druz cut him to pieces, and killed the rest of his community, including three Maronites who refused to flee with the other Christians. 

The martyrs of Damascus were beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1926.