Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saint Justin Martyr - My Confirmation Saint

One of the characters in the book the Four Witnesses, was a man by the name of Justin Martyr. I have chosen St. Justin Martyr, as my confirmation saint.

St. Justin Martyr is one of my new heroes of the faith. He lived from 100 - 165 A.D. and is in the Hall of Fame for Great Early Christian Fathers. St. Justin Martyr was a philosopher, and as such, was very logical and intelligent. Being a software developer, I tend to think logically as well, and because of this I have enjoyed his style of writing.

St. Justin Martyr lived in a time when it was illegal to be a Christian. To be a Christian meant death. One of the reasons why Christians were put to death is because the Emperor of Rome was usually declared a deity and you had to worship him. Of course, Christians would not worship anyone other than God. Another interesting reason why it was illegal to be a Christian is because it was thought that they were seditious. The reason why they were considered to be seditious is because they were seeking another kingdom. This of course was interpreted by the Roman officials that they were a terrorist organization wanting to overthrow the Emperor's kingdom. Of course, Christians were not referring to the Emperor's kingdom, but instead Christ's Kingdom.

During this time, Christians did not worship in churches. Instead, they were forced to practice their worship hidden in each other's homes. Non Christians would only hear the rumors of how the Christians worshiped behind closed doors. Christians were always being accused of "drowning babies" and "cannibalism". This of course was in reference to Baptism and Holy Eucharist (Communion). After being accused of these things to the Emperor and his court, St. Justin Martyr decided that he would set the record straight in his various works known as the Apologies which include the First Apology and the Second Apology. The term apology is based on the word apologia which means to give a defense. (1 Peter 3:15)

The reason why these documents are so important is because it gives an account of the Christian beliefs and practices during this time. St. Justin Martyr, felt compelled to explain the Christian faith to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (yes, he really did exist). He urged that Christians should be judged fairly, and not on the rumors that was being spread by the pagan culture.

He earned his crown of martyrdom, in 165 A.D. and we celebrate his birth into eternity on April 14th.

Have you ever been interested to know more about the Early Church? What they believed and how they practiced? If you are like me, then you probably don't know much about this time period. Knowledge of my Christian Heritage included a gap that ranged from the Book of Acts to the Reformation. Only recently have I started to get more involved with the forerunners of the faith, including St. Justin Martyr. May we be forever grateful to St. Justin Martyr as well as the other saints that make up this great cloud of witnesses, for defending and spreading the faith.

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