Saint of the Week: St. Justin (Martyr)
Justin was born around the year 100 in modern-day Nablus, Palestine.
He was a pagan philosopher, but converted to Christianity at age 30. He used his philosophical and speaking skills to dispute with pagans and explain the faith, becoming one of the first great Christian apologists. He opened a school of public debate in Rome, Italy. Only a few of his apologies – explanations and defenses of the faith – have survived the centuries.
All this naturally brought him to the attention of the authorities. The following is an account of his trial, which he shared with other Christians. It took place sometime around the year 165:
The Prefect Rusticus says: Approach and sacrifice, all of you, to the gods.
Justin says: No one in his right mind gives up piety for impiety.
The Prefect Rusticus says: If you do not obey, you will be tortured without mercy.
Justin replies: That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour.
And all the martyrs said: Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols.
The Prefect Rusticus read the sentence: Those who do not wish to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the emperor will be scourged and beheaded according to the laws.”