Archive for the ‘Martyrs of Lyons’ Tag

Feast of St. Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons (June 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Blandina

Image in the Public Domain

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THE 48 MARTYRS OF LYONS, 177

Eusebius of Caesarea wrote at length of these martyrs at the beginning of Book 5 of his Ecclesiastical History.

Empire-wide persecutions of Christians were rare in the Roman Empire.  Usually persecutions were regional and occasional.  For some period of time prior to 177 there was no persecution in Lyons.  Then it resumed.

The persecution of Christians in Lyons assumed several forms.  Initially public marginalization, such as exclusion from the marketplace, occurred.  Then pagan mobs attacked Christians and vandalized their homes.  The next stage entailed public interrogation, followed by incarceration and torture.  At this stage most of the martyrs, including St. Pothinus, the aged Bishop of Lyons, died.  By means of torture authorities extracted from some victims false confessions of sordid offenses, such as incest and cannibalism.  Under pressure some Christians, including St. Biblis, renounced the faith, only to reclaim it, then to die horribly.

At the end of the persecution crowds filled the amphitheater for six days to watch the martyrdoms of St. Sanctus (a deacon), St. Attalus (a longtime church member), St. Maturus (a recent convert), St. Ponticus (who was fifteen years old), and St. Blandina (a slave).  St. Blandina was the last one to die.  Eusebius concluded:

After they were exposed and insulted for six days, the martyrs’ bodies were burned to ash and swept by the wicked into the Rhone, which flows nearby, so that not even a trace of them would still appear on earth.  They did this as if to conquer God and defeat their rebirth so that, as they said, “they might not have any hope of resurrection, because of which they have introduced a strange new cult, ignored torture, and gone joyfully to death.  Now let’s see if they will rise again and if their god will save them.”

–Translated by Paul L. Maier (Grand Rapids, MI:  Kregel Publications, 1999), page 178

God and history have issued their verdicts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS THE GREAT, FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNAL MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERTO DE NOBOLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST; CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AND BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC; AND CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF WORCESTER, BIRMINGHAM, AND OXFORD; FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE RESURRECTION; THEOLOGIAN; AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND WORLD PEACE

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Grant, O Lord, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs

Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of you,

and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 12:1-3a

Psalm 34:1-8

1 Peter 1:3-9

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 403

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