Many of the Emperors in the first two centuries AD of the Roman Empire had a blind spot when it came to Christians. They had been persuaded to believe that Christians were immoral and not to be trusted. From time to time during these centuries neighbours were encouraged to report to the authorities on neighbours whom they suspected were Christians.
In the year 177 AD a terrible persecution broke in the city of Lyons in Gaul. Christians from all walks of life, the young and the elderly, men and women, were hunted down and publicly tortured and put on trial to the delight of the aroused pagan mob. In a letter written by eye- witnesses and sent to the churches in Asia and Phrygia the death of forty-seven or forty-eight individuals, including Blandina, Ponticus, and Bishop Pothinus, is described. The Epistle of the Gallican Churches is found in the works of the Christian historian Eusebius.
Today we remember the faithful witness of the Martyrs of Lyon as they departed this world joyfully and victoriously to be in the nearer presence of our Risen and Living Lord.
Bible Reading: Matthew 16:24-27