Introduction………………………………………………………..       1         
Persecution in the Early Church…………………………………         1
The Beginning of General Persecutions against the
Church (A.D. 54-304)……………………………………………..       9
Persecution, Under Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68)……………….          9
Persecution, Under Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96)…………..          10
Persecution, Under Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117)…………….          11

Persecution, Under Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonimous
(A.D. 162-180)………………………………………………………    13
Persecution, Staring With Emperor Lucius Septimus Severus
(A.D. 193-211)………………………………………………………    17    
Persecution, Under Emperor Marcus Clodius Pupienus ………          18
Maximums (A.D. 164-238)…………………………………………    20
Preparation of the World for Christianity the Emperor Gaius
Caligula Insists on Being a God……………………………………     25
The Founding of the Church……………………………………….      25
The Church Invades the Pagan World……………………………        29
St. Paul’s First Missionary Journey……………………………….      30
The Roman Church………………………………………………….    31
Burning of Rome under Nero and the persecution of the
Christians……………………………………………………………    32
References…………………………………………………………       36



Persecution, under Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68)
            Nero was the sixth emperor of Rome and Reigned for fifteen years. He was a paradox – a man of great creativity combined with a vicious temper and extreme cruelty. It is said by many that it wad NERO who ordered Rome to be burned and then blamed it on the Christians to turn the wrath of Rome’s citizens away from himself. Others say he was not in Rome when it burned. Whichever way it was, Christians were blamed for the fire that lasted nine days, became a dreadful persecution that lasted for the rest of Nero’s reign.
            The barbarous acts against the Christians were worse than any they had previously endured, especially those committed by Nero. Only a satin-inspired imagination could have conceived them. Some Christians were sewn inside skins of wild animals and torn at by fierce dogs. Shirts stiff with was were put on others, and they were then tied to poles in Nero’s garden and et on fire go provide light for his parties.
            This cruel persecution spread throughout the Roman Empire, but it only successes in strengthening the sprit of Christianity rather than killing it. Along with Paul and Peter, several of the seventy appointed by Jesus (Luke 10:1) were martyred, also. Among them were Erastus, treasurer of Corinth (Romans 16:23); Aristarchus the Macedonian (Acts 1929); Trophimus the Ephesians (Acts 21:29); Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23); and Ananias, bishop of Damascus, whom the Lord sent to Saul (Acts 9:10).

Persecution, under Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96)
            Domitian was a cruel person who killed his own brother and brought the second persecution against Christians. In his hatred, Domitian issued an order “That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted form punishment without renouncing his religion”.
            Numerous lies were made up during his time to harm the Christians, some so outrageous that only unthinking hate could believe them-such as the Christians were responsible for every famine, epidemic, or earthquake that afflicted any part of the Roman empire. Money was offered to those who would testify against the Christians, and many innocent people were slaughtered for financial gain. When Christians were brought before domitian’s council, they were told that if they swore an oath of allegiance to him they would be set free. Those who reused to take the oath were killed.
            The martyr during this time with whom we are most familiar was Timothy, who was the celebrated disciple of the Apostle Paul and overseer of the Church in Ephesus until A.D. 97. In that year, the Ephesians pagans were celebrating a feast called “Catagogion”. When Timothy saw their pagan procession, he blocked their way and severely rebuked them for their idolatry. His holy boldness angered the pagans and they attacked him with clubs and beat him so badly that he died of his injuries two days later.

Persecution, under Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117).
            In the third persecution, Pliny, known as “the Younger”, a Roman consul and writer, took pity on the persecuted Christians and wrote to Trajan, assuring him that there were many thousands of them put to death daily who had not done anything contrary to Roman laws. In his letter, he said:
            The whole account they gave of their crime or error (whichever it is to be called) amounted only to thus: namely, that they were accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight, and to repeat together a set form of prayer to Christ as a God, and to bind themselves by an obligation, not indeed to commit wickedness; but, on the contrary, never to commit theft, robbery, or adultery, never to falsify their word. Never to defraud any man: after which it was their custom to separate, and reassemble to partake in common of a harmless meal.
            The degree to which Pliny’s letter lessened the persecution, if at all, is not recorded.
            During this persecution, in the year A>D. 110, Ignatius (see figure 8), who was the overseer of the Church in Antioch, the capital of Syria, where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26), was sent to Rome because he professed and taught Christ. It’s said that when he preached through Asia, even though guarded by soldiers, he preached the Word of God in every city they traveled through and encouraged and strengthened the churches. While in Smyrna, he wrote to the Church at Rome and appealed to them not to try to deliver him form martyrdom, because they would deprive him of that which he most longed and hoped for he wrote:
            Now I begin to be a disciple. I care for nothing of visible or invisible things so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus.
            Even when he was sentenced to fed to lions and could hear their roaring, he was filled with such desire to suffer for Christ (See Acts 5:41) that he said, “I am the wheat of Christ: I am going to be ground with the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread.” About ten thousand Christians were martyred during his reign. Many were crowned with thorns, crucified, and had spears thrust into their sides in cruel imitation of Jesus” death.
            Eustachius, a successful and brave Roman commander, was ordered to join in an idolatrous sacrifice to celebrate his victories, but his hear-faith in Christ was so much greater than his vanity that he refused. Enraged at this, drain forgo Eustachinus’s noble service to Rome and had him and his entire family martyred.
            Two brothers, Fausines and jovita, bore their tortures with such patience that a pagan named Calocerius was so struck with admiration that he cried out in a kind of ecstasy, “Great is the God of the Christians!” For this, he was immediately arrested and put to the same tortures.
The relentless persecutions against the Christians continued until quadrates, who was overseer of Athens, made a scholarly defense in their favor before the emperor, who was in Athens for a is it, At the same time. Airsides, a philosopher in the city, wrote an elegant epistle to the emperor, also in their favor. These combined to cause Adrian to become more lenient and relax his persecution.
            Adrain died in A.D. 138, and was succeeded by Antoninus Pius, emperor Pius was one of the most amiable monarchs that ever reigned and stopped all persecutions against the Christians.
Persecution, under Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonimous (A.D. 162-180)
            Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher, and wrote meditations, a classic work of stoicism, which is an indifference to pleasure or pain. He was also fierce and merciless toward Christians and responsible for the fourth general persecution against them.
            The cruelties against Christians in this persecution were so inhuman that may of those who watched them shuddered with horror, and were astonished at the courage of the sufferers. Some of the martyrs had their feet crushed impresses, and were then forced to walk over thorns, nails, sharp shells, and other pointed objects. Others were sharp shells, and other pointed objects. Others were whipped until their sinews and being were exposed. Then after suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised, they were killed in terrible ways. Yet few turned from Christ or begged their torturers to lessen their pains.
            When Germanics, a young man and true Christian, was delivered to the wild lions on account of his faith he behaved with such astonishing courage that several pagans were converted to the faith that inspired such bravery.
            Polycarp, who was a student of the Apostle John and the overseer of the church in Smyrna, heard that soldiers were looking for him and tried to escape but was discovered by a child. After feeding the guards who captured him. He asked for an hour in prayer, which they gave him. He prayed with such fervency, that his guards said they were sorry that they were the ones who captured him. Nevertheless, he was taken before the governor and condemned to be burned in the market place.
            After his sentence was give, the governor said to him, “Reproach Christ and I will release you”.
            Polycarp answered, “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never once wronged me. How then shall I blaspheme my king who has saved me”
            In the market place, he was tied to the state rather than nailed as was the usual customs, because he assured them he would stand immovable in the flames and not fight them. As the dry sticks placed around him were lit, the flames rose up and circled his body without touching him. The executioner was then ordered to pierce him with a sword. When he did, a great quantity of blood gushed out an put the fire. Although his Christian friends asked to be given his body as it was so they could bury him, the enemies of the Gospel insisted that it be burned in the fire, which was done.
            Felicitates, a well-know lay of a wealthy Roam family was a devout and pious Christian. She had seven sons who were also devout Christians. All were martyred.
            Januaries, the eldest, was scourged, and pressed to death with weights. Felix and Philip, the two next, had their brains dashed out with a club. Silvanus, the fourth, was thrown form a precipice. The three younger sons. Alexander, Vitals, and Marital, were beheaded with a sword. Felicitates was then beheaded with the same sword.
            Justin, the Greek theologian who founded a school christen philosophy at  Rome and wrote the apology and the Dialogue, was also martyred during his time of persecution. He was a native of Neapolis in Samaria and was a great lover of truth and a universal scholar. After his conversion to Christianity when he was thirty years old, he wrote an elegant epistle to the Gentiles, and employed his talents in convincing the Jews of the truth of the Christian faith.
            When the pagans began to treat the Christians with great severity, Justin wrote a dense in their favour that prompted the emperor to publish a decree in favor of the Christens.
            Soon after, he entered into frequent debates with creases, a celebrated cynic photosphere, Justin’s arguments overpowered Crescent and so disturbed him that he resolved to destroy Justin. The second defense that Justin wrote or behalf of the christens gave cresses that opportunity he needed, and he convinced the emperor that Justin was dangerous to him, whereupon the and six followers were dangerous to him, whereupon he san six followers were arrested and order to sacrifice to pagan idols. When they refused, they were scourged and then beheaded.
            Soon after, persecutions ceased for a while because of a miraculous deliverance of the emperor’s army from certain defeat in a battle in the northern providence through the prayers of a began of his soldiers who were all Christians. But it began again in France where the tortures almost exceed the powers of description.
Sanctus, a deacon of description
            Sanctus, a decision of Vienna, had read hot plates of brass placed upon the tenders parts of his body and left there until they burned through to his bones.
Blandina, a Christian lady of weak constitution who was not thought to be able to resist torture. But whose fortitude was so great that her tormentors became exhausted with their devilish work, was after taken into an amphitheater with three others, suspended on a piece of wood stuck in the ground, and exposed as food for wild lions. While awaiting her suffering, she prayed earnestly for her companions and encouraged them. But none of the lions would touch her, so she time she was brought out, she was accompanied by 15 year old ponticus. The steadfastness of their faith so enraged the multitude that neither her sex nor his youth were respected, and they were subjected to the severest punishments and tortures. Blandina subjected to the severest punishments and tortures. Blandina was torn by the lions, scourged, put into a net and tossed about by a wild bull, and placed naked into a red-hot metal chair. When she could speak, she exhorted unto death. When Blandina’s torturers were unable to make her recant her faith, they killed her with a sword.

Persecution, staring with Emperor Lucius Septimus Severus (A.D. 193-211)
            For a short period, Severus was favourable toward Christians because it was said he had recovered form a severe fit of sickness after being ministered to by a Christian, but it wasn’t long before the prejudice and fury of Rome’s citizens prevailed and obsolete laws were revived and used against the Christians. And, once again, they were blamed and punished for every natural misfortune that occurred.
            Regardless of the renewed persecution, the church and gospel stood firm and bright through it, and the Lord increasingly added to His body throughout the roam empire. Tertullian, the Carthaginian theologian who converted to Christianity about A.D. 193, said that if the Christians all left the roman provinces, the empire would nearly empty.
            During this persecution, Victor, bishop to Rome, was martyred in A.D 201. Lonidus, the father of Origin, the Greek Christian philosopher known for his interpretations of the old testament. Was beheaded. Many of origin’s hearers also suffered martyrdom: plutarchus. Serenus. Heron and Heraclites were beheaded. A woman named rheas had boiling tar purred upon her head and was then burned, as was her mother, Marcella. Her sister Potaininena. Met the same fate that she did, but attend her execution. Was converted to Christ. Later, when he was required to swear an oath on roman idols he refused on the basis that he was a Christian. At first those with him could not believe what they heard, but when those with him he was debagged before a judge, condemned, and beheaded.
Ireaneus, (AD 230-202), Greek church father and bishop of Lyons, was born in Greece, and received both a secular and a Christian education. It is believed that he wrote the account of the persecutions at Lyons. He was beheaded in A.D. 202.
            The persecutions now extended into northern Africa. Which was a roman province. Many were martyred in that area, here are but a few.
            Perpetua, a young married woman who was still nursing a child; Felicitas, who was then pregnant, and Revocatus of Carthage, a slave who was being taught the principles of Christianity. Other prisoners who suffered at the same time were Saturninus, Secundulus, and Satur.
These latter three were made to run between two rows of men who severely lashed them as they passed.
            After an appearance before the proconsul Minutius in which she was offered freedom if she sacrificed to the idols, Perpetua had her still nursing baby taken form her and was Perpetual has her still-nursing baby taken from her and was thrown into prison. Describing her faith and life in prison, she told her father. “The dungeon is to me a palace.” Later she and the other prisoners appeared before Hilarianus, the judge. He, also, offered to set her baby and begged her to do so. She replied, I will not sacrifice”.
“are you a Christian”? asked Hilarianus.
            All of the Christians with her stood fast for Christ, and they were ordered to be killed by wild beasts for the enjoyment of the crowd o  the next pagan holiday. The men were to be torn by lions and leopards and the women set upon by bulls.
            On the day of their execution, Perpetua and Felicitas were first stripped naked and hung in nets, but were removed and clothed when the crowd objected. Upon returning to the arena, perpetual was tossed about by a mad bull and was stunned but not seriously hurt; Felicitas, however, was badly gored. Perpetua hurried to her side and held her while they waited for the bull to charge them again but he refused to do so, and they were dragged from the arena, much to the crowds disappointment.
            After a short time, they were brought back to be killed by gladiators. Felicitas was killed quickly, but the young, inexperienced gladiator assigned to kill perpetua trebled violently and could only stab her weakly several times. Seeing how he trembled. Perpetua held his sword blade and guided it to a bital area in her body.
            The fate of the men were similar. Satur and Revocattus were killed by the wild beasts. Saturninus was beheaded, and secundulus died of his wounds in prison.

Persecution, under emperor Marcus clodius Pupienus maximums (A.D. 164-238)
            Maximus was a despot who ordered all Christians hunted down and killed. So many were killed that at times they buried them fifity and sixty together in large pits.
            Among those killed were Ponmtianus, bishop of Rome. Who was exiled to Sardinia for preaching against idolatry and was there killed. His successor, anteros, was also martyred after only forty days in office for offending the government by compiling a history of the martyrs. A Roman senator. Pammachius and his family and forty two other Christians were beheaded the same day and their heads displayed on the city gates. A Christian minister Calepodius, was dragged through the streets of Rome and then thrown into the tiber river with a millstone tied around his neck. A refined and beautiful young virgin named Martina was beheaded and hippolitus, a Christian minister, was tied to wild horses and dragged along the ground until he died.’
            Maximums died in A.D. 238 and was succeeded by Gordian, who was then succeeded by Philip. During the later two reigns, the church was free form persecution for a period of 6-10 years. In a a.d 242, however, a violent persecution in Alexandria was instigated by a pagan priest without the emperor’s knowledge. During that persecution, an elderly Christian, metros, was beaten with clubs, pricked with needles, and toned to death for refusing to worship idols. A Christian woman Ouinta, was scourged, the dragged over flint stones by her feet, and stoned to death. A seventy-year-old woman. Appolonia, who confessed that she was a Christian, was fastened to a stake to be burned. After the fire was set, she begged to be set free, which the mob did thinking that she was going to recant Christ. To their amazement, however, she hurled herself back into the flames and died.

Persecution, under Emperor Decius (A.D. 249-251)
            This persecution as initiated by Decius because of his hatred for his predecessor Philip, who was believed to be a Christian, and by his anger that Christianity was rapidly increasing and the pagan gods were being forsaken. He decided, therefore, to eliminate the Christina religion and all its followers. The heathen citizens of Rome were eager to enforce Deius’s decree, and considered the killing of Christians to be beneficial to the empire. During this persecution, the martyrs were too numerous for anyone to record. Here are a few of them.
            St. Chrysostom. The patriarch of Constantinople in A.D 398 wrote that Julian, a ciLician, was arrested for being a Christian, put into a leather bag with several snakes and scorpions, and then thrown into sea.
            A young man, peter who was known for the superior qualities of his mind and body refused to sacrifice to the goddess Venus when told to so. In his defense, he said “I m amazed that you sacrifice to an infamous woman whose debaucheries your own writings record, and whose life consisted to such perverted actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers.” When the governor of Asia, Optimus, heard this, he ordered that Peter be stretched upon a wheel until all his bones were broken and then beheaded.
            A weak Christian, Nichomachus, was brought before optimums and ordered to sacrifice to the pagan idols, Nichomachus replied, “I cannot pay the respect to devils that is due only to the almighty”. He was immediately placed on the rack, and after enduring his torments for only a short time, recanted his faith in Christ. As soon as he was freed from the rack, he was seized with a great agony and fell to the ground and died.
            Seeing what seemed to be a terrible judgment, Densia, a sixteen-year old girl who was among the observers, exclaimed, “O unhappy wretch, why would you buy a moment’s ease at the expense of a miserable eternity!” when optimums heard this he called her to himself, and when Denisa confessed that she was a Christian, he had her beheaded.
            Andrew and Paul, two Christian companions of Nichmachus, held fast to Christ and were stoned to death as they called on their blessed Redeemer.
            In Alexandria, Alexander and Epimachus were arrested for being Christains. When they confessed that they were, they were bear with thick sticks, torn with hooks, and then burned to death. On the same day, four female martyrs were beheaded, their names are unknown.
            In Nice, Trypho and Respicius, prominent men and Christians, men and Christians, were arrested and given over to the torturers. Nails were driven through their feet, they were scourged, dragged through the streets, torn with iron hooks, scorched with torches, and then beheaded.
            Quintain, governor of Sicily, lusted after a Sicilian lady, Agatha, who was as much known for her piety as her remarkable beauty. When she resisted all of quintain’s advances, he had her placed in the hands of a notorious woman, Aphrodica, who ran a brother. But that she devil was unable to turn Agatha to prostitution so that Quintain could satisfy his with her. Upon hearing this, Quintain’s lust turned to rage and he called her before him and questioned her. When she confessed that she was a Christian, Quintain had her scourged, torn with sharp hooks, and laid naked upon live coals mixed with broken glass. Agatha bore these tortures with great courage, and was carried back to prison where she died form her wounds on February 5, 251.
            Lucius, the governor of Crete, ordered Cyril, the 84-year-old overseer of the church at Gortyna, to be arrested for refusing to obey the imperial edict to perform sacrifices to the idols. When Cyril appeared before him. Lucius exhorted him to perform the sacrifices and thereby save himself from a horrible death. The godly man replied that he had long taught others the way to eternal life in Christ, and now he must stand firm for the sake of his own soul. He displayed no fear when Lucius condemned him to be burned at the stake, and suffered the flames joyously and with great courage.
            In A.D 251, Emperor Decius erected a pagan temple in Ehesus and commanded all those in the city to sacrifice to its idols. Seven of his soldiers who were Christians refused to do so and were placed in prison. They were Constantinus, Dionysius, Joannes, Malchus, martianus, maximianus, and Seraion. Decius tried to turn them from their faith by a show of leniency, and gave them until he returned from an expedition to change their minds. During his absence the seven escaped and hid themselves in a case in nearby hills when Decius returned, however, their hiding place was discovered, and he ordered the scave to be sealed so they would die from thirst and starvation.
            It was during this persecution under Decius that sixty-four- year-old Origin, the renewed Christian philopher whose father, Leonidus, was martyred during the fifth persecution, was arrested and thrown into a foul prison in Alexandria. His feet were bound with chains and put into the stocks, and his legs were spread as far apart as possible. He was continually threatened with burning, and tormented with every means that would keep him barely alive for some time before dying.
            Fortunately, during this time Decius died. And his successor Gallus was immediately involved in repelling an invasion by the Goths, a Germanic peoples from the north. This temporarily stopped the persecution on the Christians, and Origen obtained his release and went to Tyre, where he stayed until his death five years later in about A.D. 254…………..
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