March 12, 2014
Persecution and Martyrdom in the Early Church
In the times of the early church, many who praised God died because of that. This is called martyrdom. Deaths caused by religion were common and no murder was too cruel or inhumane for anyone back then. People were stoned to death, eaten by lions, burned, etc. Three forms of martyrdom were specifically interesting like having to cutoff breasts, skin someone alive, and even martyr someone twice. St.Agatha of Sicily was a beautiful young woman who caught the eye of senator Quintianus. Expecting her to say yes, the senator proposed many times to Agatha but she refused to be with the senator. As a result, he had her breasts cut off. Although she survived this torture by a consoling St.Peter vision, she died in prison as a consequence of repeated cruelties inflicted on her. Another painful and excruciating martyrdom was St.Bartholomew’s. St.Bartholomew was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. Legend says that after the Resurrection, he went to preach in India and Armenia. It was in Armenia where he was flayed alive for refusing to worship pagan gods. After his skinning, he was crucified upside down. Finally, there’s St.Sebastian. Although he was an officer of the imperial army, he comforted Christian prisoners and converted many soldiers. This was betrayal and resulted in Sebastian getting shot by archers under orders of Emperor Diocletian. He survived this torture but was then beaten to death by Diocletian. Because he went through two punishments, he’s the saint known to have been martyred twice. To conclude, it was for their faith that these three martyrs died some of the most inhumane deaths. Martyrdom is not so popular today but it is still present in some places. However, many of these martyrdoms only inspire people and increase the beliefs of the catholic religion....
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