Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church

Published June 29, 2019, 10:37 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Christina Hermoso

The Roman Catholic Church will honor tomorrow the memory of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church, the faithful followers of Jesus Christ who gave up their lives for their faith at a time of intense Christian persecution.

(Pinterest / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Pinterest / MANILA BULLETIN)

Pope Clement I, an early Church Father, said, “The blood of the first martyrs, the Christians martyred in the city of Rome during Emperor Nero’s persecution in 64 A.D., has always been and will always be, the seed of Christianity.”

Also known as the “Protomartyrs of Rome,” the Christian martyrs, that included the pillars of the Catholic Church, Saints Peter and Paul, were persecuted, tortured, and killed in August 64 A.D. upon the orders of Emperor Nero. The emperor also destroyed by fire half of the city of Rome, so he could enlarge his palace and rebuilt the city. To shift the blame, he accused the Christians and started persecuting them.

The cruelty of the tortures that included igniting the martyrs as human torches and crucifying them aroused the horror and pity of the Romans, eventually causing many to convert to Christianity. Emperor Nero was later threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death. Four years later, he committed suicide at the age of 31.

 
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