Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The early Christian martyrs

Martyrs being crucified and waiting to be eaten by lions
The day after the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Church commemorates the many unknown, possibly in thousands of Christian martyrs who shed their blood for their faith under ruthless Emperors. What is known as the Persecution era, so many martyrs died defending their faith, either through crucifixion, being burned, being eaten by lions or other excruciating methods of torture.
Many of them were arrested just by being seen carrying a cross in their hands. Most of them congregated underground in catacombs, for fear of being arrested and killed. Some of the known martyrs have been canonized by the church, St Agnes, St Agatha, St Cecilia, St Ignatius of Antioch, most of the early Popes, and so many others. It was only thanks to King Constantine who ended the Persecutions in 313 AD, that Christians could once again profess their faith freely and build basilicas and churches to worship in.

But it seems that history is repeating itself, as so many innocent civilians are today being martyred, also for worshiping in churches, for being Christian or simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We pray also today for those who are suffering for lack of religious liberty and those still being persecuted for their faith.

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