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Quote of the Day: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” --Tertullian of Carthage Rembrandt. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen.

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Presentation on theme: "Quote of the Day: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” --Tertullian of Carthage Rembrandt. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quote of the Day: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” --Tertullian of Carthage Rembrandt. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen

2 Early Christian Martyrdom 1.Persecution under Trajan in Martyrs of Vienne & Lyons. 3.Seminar: martyrdom of St Polycarp. 4.Theological significance of martyrdom. St. Sebastian

3 Persecution under Emperor Trajan Emperor Trajan Pliny the Younger Governor of Bythinia Time: 112AD Place: Bythinia, Asia Minor Occasion: Pliny toured his province and discovered a group that looked like a secret society

4 Why are Christians a problem? Temples deserted Nobody buys sacrificial animals Christians disrupt local economy

5 ‘Horrible’ facts about Christians that Pliny discovered Christians meet on Sunday Sing a hymn to Christ ‘as to a god’ Promise to each other not to act immorally Eat together Conclusion: ‘depraved, excessive superstition’

6 Trajan’s reply to Pliny Do not seek Christians out do not consider anonymous accusations Give them a chance to sacrifice Punish only those who refused to sacrifice Temple dedicated to Trajan in Pergamum

7 Map 2 nd c. Martyrs of Vienne and Lyons, 177.

8 Martyrdom was a public event Amphitheater. Tunisia.

9 Gladiators fight with leopards. Mosaic in Amira, Tunisia.

10 Left: Emperor Commodus as Hercules Below: gladiators fighting

11 Martyrdom of St. Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155) Proconsul: “Swear by the fortune of Caesar. Say: ‘Away with the atheists.’ Curse Christ.” Polycarp: “How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?.. I am a Christian.

12 Execution of Blandina (177 CE) Blandina was hung up fastened to a stake and exposed, as food to the wild beasts that were let loose against her. Because she appeared as if hanging on a cross and because of her earnest prayers, she inspired the combatants with great zeal. For they looked on this sister in her combat and saw, with their bodily eyes, Him who was crucified for them, that He might persuade those who trust in Him that every one who suffers for the glory of Christ has eternal communion with the living God. When none of the wild beasts at that time touched her, she was taken down from the stake and taken back to prison. She was preserved for another contest. By gaining the victory in more conflicts, she might make the condemnation of the Crooked Serpent unquestionable, and she might encourage the brethren. Though she was an insignificant, weak, and despised woman, yet she was clothed with the great and invincible athlete Christ. On many occasions she had overpowered the enemy, and in the course of the contest had woven for herself the crown of incorruption.


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