Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The 40 Martyrs of Sebaste

Icon from Georgia, s.XIII. In the year 320, Licinius ordered his soldiers to repudiate Christ on pain of death. In the "Thundering Legion," stationed near Sebaste, in the Roman Armenia, forty soldiers refused. They were stripped naked one evening and herded onto the middle of a frozen lake, and told, "You may come ashore when you are ready to deny your faith." To tempt them, fires were built on shore, with warm baths, blankets, clothing, and hot food and drink close by. As night deepened, thirty-nine men stood firm, while one broke and ran to the shore. However, one of the soldiers standing guard on shore was so moved by the steadfastness of the Christians that he stripped off his clothes and ran out to join them. They welcomed him into their company, and so the number of the martyrs remained at forty, and by morning, all were dead of exposure.


ukok said...

That's fascinating, i never knew that. Thanks for sharing. The video is very powerful. It makes me question how firm i am in my faith and it is certainly something i need to think about further.

gemoftheocean said...

I like that story. It's also not unlike that of St. Genesius, patron saint of actors. He was in the role of playing a part that mocked Christian baptism. While in the midst of performing, he converted to Christ - and asked another actor playing the priest to baptise him. Genesius was martyred for his refusal to recant his newfound belief.

To this day many actors (even ones not Catholic) carry/wear St. Genesius medal.

mafeking said...

I've seen this story before but I can't remember where. We moan about the "Battle of Linz" but really it's a pin prick compared to something like this. We need a good purge really to separate the sheep from the goats a bit more. We aren't going to evangelise anyone unless we start showing the sort of fight to the last man attitude the early martyrs showed.