Tag Archives: Christian martyrs

Mixing and pressing the spirit of man.

 

“The purpose of the Church is a constant battle; this is why it is called the ‘militant Church,’ battling with the prince of this world – that is, with all those who by all possible means and ways press the spirit of man, bind it, as it were mix it with matter, gradually suppress in it the call from heaven, deprive it of the opportunity even to feel its own true nature, the true purpose of its life in this world, and even harden it against eternal Life. For the spirit that has become attached to earth, this Light even now becomes painfully tormenting, which is why there is occurring a rebellion against the Light, an effort to put out its remaining rays in this world.”

Saint Damascene of Glukhov, 20th century Russian martyr

Let the infants leap up.

Today we remember The Holy Innocents, the 14,000 infants slain by King Herod in Bethlehem after Christ’s birth, thus becoming the first martyrs for Christ; and all who died as martyrs for the glory of God by hunger, thirst, freezing, and the sword. This summary of the events is helpful:

The Magi in the East beheld a new star in the heavens, foretelling the Nativity of the King of the Jews. They journeyed immediately to Jerusalem to worship the Child, and the star showed them the way. Having worshiped the divine Infant, they did not return to Jerusalem to Herod, as he had ordered them, but being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their country by another way. Herod finally realized that his scheme to find the Child would not be successful, and he ordered that all the male children two years old and younger at Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. He thought that the divine Infant, Whom he considered a rival, would be among the dead children. (From Orthodox Wiki)

There is also a reference to Rachel in the Gospel passage telling of the slaughter, a quote from the Prophet Jeremiah:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
the dominion of the Jews was abolished.
Let the infants slaughtered for Christ leap up,
and let Judea lament;
for a voice was heard in Rama:
Rachel, weeping, bewaileth her children,
as it is written,
for the all-iniquitous Herod
in slaying the babes fulfilled the Scriptures,
filling Judea with innocent blood
and staining the earth red with their blood,
but the Church of the nations
is mystically purified thereby
and is arrayed in beauty.
The Truth is come!
God Who hath been born of the Virgin
hath appeared to those who sit in shadow,
that He may save us all.
-Hymn for the feast

You can kill us, but…

Saint Justin the Philosopher and Martyr (AD 100-165; celeb. June 1st)

Justin is known in the Orthodox Church as Martyr Justin the Philosopher. In his youth he was unsatisfied with the philosophies of the day, and after becoming a Christian he opened a school of Christian philosophy. He refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods and was beheaded along with the martyrs Justin, Chariton, Euelpistus, Hierax, Peonus, Valerian, Justus and Charito in 165. They are all commemorated on June 1.

You can kill us but you cannot do us any real harm.
-Saint Justin Martyr

The following gives the context of the above quote and is from his first apology in 150 A.D., which he wrote to the emperor Antoninus Pius in defense of innocent Christians:

“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless…Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death…I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.”

St. Justin Martyr

Saint Justin the Philosopher and Martyr (AD 100-165; celeb. June 1st)

You can kill us but you cannot do us any real harm.

-Saint Justin Martyr

Justin is known in the Orthodox Church as Martyr Justin the Philosopher. In his youth he was unsatisfied with the philosophies of the day, and after becoming a Christian he opened a school of Christian philosophy. He refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods and was beheaded along with the martyrs Justin, Chariton, Euelpistus, Hierax, Peonus, Valerian, Justus and Charito in 165. They are all commemorated on June 1.

The following gives the context of the above quote and is from his first apology in 150 A.D., which he wrote to the emperor Antoninus Pius in defense of innocent Christians:

“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless…Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death…I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.”