22 February 2003
The Early Christian Martyrs were as courageous as they were numerous. Unwilling to conform to the Roman Empires polytheist society they suffered unto death for their beliefs, with hope of eternal life.
II.Life for the Early Christians
III.Why were Christians Martyred?
IV.Giving Christians the Opportunity to Renounce Christ
V.Most Notable Martyrs
"If sanctity and spirituality have to do essentially with our union with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, martyrdom, as we have already seen in the first part, provided in the earliest centuries of the Church and ideal means to such union. Martyrdom's importance was rooted in its close connection with Christ's own death and resurrection. To be put to death for faith, that is, to be martyred (literally, to become a "witness"), was to experience ahead of schedule the final eschatological event." (McBrien 1). The Persecution of the early Church seems to read like a tragedy written for the stage rather then real life. Christians weren't continuously persecuted by the Roman government and for a period of time did enjoy some freedom and therefore were viewed by the Roman people to be unsociable in their dealing with society (2). The persecution of the church was first started by the Jews and then the Gentiles and continued for nearly three hundred years. This persecution is one of the worst recorded of all times and was definitely a disproportionate struggle (3).
Life for the Early Christian
Divine intervention made it possible for the roots of Christianity to be planted in society before the Roman government really knew what had taken place (4). What they perceived as small and annoying at the start became a problem deeply rooted in the fabric of their society. The policy of the Roman government was tolerant to a certain degree. As long as one...