We are presenting this paper by saying that the Church Militants can never be comfortable here on earth with some reasons we will share later.
But we will like to simply look into meaning of the following words with respect to this very subject.  Such like: Church, militants, comfortable, and earth.
(a)       Church: In the NT, the Greek word ekklesia refers to any assembly, local bodies of believers, or the universal body of all believers. This is defined according to Holman illustrated Bible dictionary.
(b)       Militant: According to Longman Dictionary of contemporary English says: a militant organization or person is willing to use strong or violent action in order to achieve political or social change.

The Latin word Militant has a primary meaning of “serving as a solder, military”, but it acquired a secondary meaning of “to struggle to make an effort”, which is the intended sense here. Christians on earth (the church Militant) are still struggling against  sin in order that, when the die, they mighty go to heaven and be members of the church triumphant, those who have triumphed over sin.
In Christian theology, Christian church or church universal, is traditionally divided into
(a)       The church militant (Ecclesia Militia), comprising Christians on earth who are living; Christian militia, who struggle against sin, the devil and the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).
(b)       The church Triumphant (Ecclesia Triumphant) comprising those who are in Heaven.
(c)       Comfortable:  It was derived from the word comfort. A feeling of being physically relaxed and satisfied, so that nothing is hurting you, making you feel too hot or cold e.t.c. This definition is according to Longman dictionary of contemporary English.
(d)       Earth: This can be called land. The earth is humankind’s God-given dwelling. According to Holman illustrated Bible Dictionary.
            Consequently, the church militants can be defined as a group of Christians or believers fighting relentlessly on earth to make the kingdom of God.
            The Christian militant cannot be comfortable here in these planet earths. Right from the onset of Jesus Life and ministry he experienced a lot of uncomfortability, right from his infancy. It is recorded in the Holy Scripture that when Herod, heard that the king of the Jews was born, he sent assassins to kill him, and a message came from God, to take him to Egypt. Jesus who preached love, righteousness and forgiveness was arrested and crucified. It is supposed that Jesus was actually born in the year that is dated 6 BC. Jesus who was born two years before Herod the Great died in 4BC. These was a super natural being that came in the likeness of man to redeem man from his state of falling, was brutally murdered. (Mtt 2:16)
            However, it didn’t end there rather it was progressive, bearlly eight years, after the death of our lord Jesus, Stephen who faithfully proclaimed the Gospel to those who had killed Jesus, was also killed as the people because so enraged at what he say to them, for this reasons they drove him out of the city and stoned him to death, the hate generated against Steven apparently brought a great persecution upon those who professed faith in Christ, as the Jewish messiah at that time great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria except the apostles (Acts 8:1) during that persecution about two thousand (2000) Christians were martyred. Including one of the deacon appointed by the Church (Nicanor Acts 6:5) the Christian Militant were never and can never be comfortable here on earth and so it continued.
            James- Mathews-Peter-mark-Paul Thomas Luke and son on. As if that was not enough, it continued till these 21st century.
            Standing on the beautiful, white sand beaches of Zanziber, it mighty be hard for anyone to imagine that anything could disturb this seemingly peaceful tropical paradise off the East African coast of Tanzania. But for the small Christian minority living in the capital of Zanzibar has equally turned into a violet Nightmare (in October, 2012 a furious mob of radical Muslims marched through the street carrying clubs and matchetes Chanting “we want the head of all the Church Pastor in Zangiber-they tried but failed to break into the Catholic Church and then an Anglican church while several Christian and pastor fearing for their life fled the Island. Churches here being under siege for some time dozen have been set on fire, and the government has seemingly done little or nothing to stop the violence.
            With these kind of situation in the world how can the Christian militant be comfortable? (save women form abduction an sexual exploitation the cry of Christian women form Zanziber.) 44 were killed on Christmas day lst year when a member of Islamist sect Boko Haram rammed a car packed with explosives into the gates of St. Theresa’s church in Madalla, a satellite town 25 miles from the center  of Abuja
            Two other churches were bombed that day on Christmas Eve 2010 over 40 people were killed similar attacks.
            The armed (rebels) in Syria have murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children.
            However, Christian militant in earth, should be courageous, never given to the persecution don’t compromise your faith.
It is written in the world ye hall have Tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).

There is an assurance of victory for those who are cheerfully and courageously pressing on to fish the race-like Paul who finished his race.

The reason is because they knew that the earth is not a better place for them to dwell. They have the best place already prepared for them and it is the kingdom of God. For the facts that what they are fighting will be the best for them, they can’t enter there without resistances from the enemy (the Devil).
            This is the reason the enemy persecutes the true church of Christ even to death. The true church of Christ i.e. the church Militants are always striving to enter through the narrow gate. This is the gate that leads directly to the kingdom of God.
In the kingdom of God, there will be no malaria and typhoid fever, Armed Robbers, Indigene and non-indigene, tribalism, killing, persecution, e.t.c. This is the best place one can strive to enter, quite unlike on earth where people are managing their lives with many problems.
            Apparently, the fact that the early churches were persecuted even to the point of torturing to death made it crystal clear that any true church must pass through persecution. This is a cross to carry because Jesus Christ carried His own cross firstly and then followed by the early Apostles.
In Mathew 16:18, it is recorded that Jesus told His disciples, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell (Hades) shall not prevail against it”.
            Three major points can be noted in Jesus” words:
1.         Christ will have a church in this world
2.         His Church will be mightily attacked:
3.         None of the devil’s attacks will destroy it.
Looking back through the history of the church, we can see that Jesus’ words have been fulfilled in every century – its glorious history verifies his words. First, that there is a true Church of Christ in this world is without question. Second, every level of secular and religious leaders and their subjects have publicly and forcefully, with every cunning and deceitful means at their disposal, “denounced and persecuted that true Church. Third, that church has endured and held its testimony of Christ through every attack brought against it. Its passage through the storms caused by violent anger and hate has been glorious to see, and much of its history is written in this book so that the wonderful works of God might be to Christ’s glory, and that the knowledge of the experiences of the Church’s Martyrs might have a beneficial effect upon its readers and strengthen their Christian faith.

            The first to suffer for the Church was Jesus Himself-not a martyr, of course, but the inspiration and source of all martyrdom. The story of His suffering and crucifixion is so well told in the Holy Scriptures that we have no need to document it here. It’s enough to say that His subsequent resurrection defeated the intent of the Jews and gave fresh courage and new direction to the hearts of his disciples. And after they received the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they were further filled with the confidence and boldness they needed to proclaim His name. This new confidence and boldness completely confused the Jewish rulers and astonished all who heard them.

            The second person to suffer and die for the Church was Stephen; whose name means “crown” (Acts 6-8). He was martyred because of the faithful way in which he proclaimed the Gospel to those who had killed Jesus. They became so enraged at what he said to them that they drove him out of the city and stoned him to death. Stephen’s martyrdom came about eight years after His lord’s crucifixion, which would place his death in the year A.D. 35, since it is supposed that Jesus was actually born the year that is dated 6 B.C. having been born about two years before Herod (the Great) died in 4 B.C. (see Matthew 2:16).
            The hate generated against Stephen apparently brought a great persecution upon all those who professed faith in Christ as the Jewish Messiah. Luke writes, “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” (Acts 8:1) During that persecution, about two thousand Christians were martyred, including Nicanor, who was one of the seven deacons appointed by the Church (Acts 6:5).
            This James was the son of Zebedee and Salome and the elder brother of the apostle John. He was the first of the twelve apostles to be martyred (Acts 12:2). He was executed about A.D. 44 by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea. His martyrdom may have been a fulfillment of what Jesus foretold about him and his brother John (Mark 10:39).
            Clements Alexandrinus, an eminent primitive writer, wrote that when James was being led to his execution, his extraordinary courage so impressed one of his captors that he fell on his knees before the apostle, asked his forgiveness and confessed that he was a Christian also, and said that James should not die alone. Whereupon, they were both beheaded.
            About the same time, Timon and Parmenas, two of the seven deacons, were executed ---one in Philippi and the other in Macedonia.
            Exactly ten years later, in A.D. 54, the Apostle Philip is said to have been scourged, thrown into prison, and then crucified at Hierapolis in Phrygia.

            Little is known about the Apostle Matthew’s later life and the time and manner of his death, but legendary accounts say that he traveled to Ethiopia where he became associated with Candace (See Acts 8:27), and that he was martyred in that country. Some writings say he was pinned to the ground and beheaded with a *halberd in the city of Nadabah (or Naddayar), Ethiopia, in circa A.D. 60.

James (the Less)
            This James was the brother of Jesus and the writer of the epistle. He seems to have been leader of the Church at Jerusalem (see Acts 12:17; 15:13-29:21:18-24) The exact time and manner of his death is not certain, although it’s believed to be about A.D. 66. According to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, the high priest Ananus ordered James killed by stoning. But Hegesippus, an early Christian writer, quoted by the third-century Christian historian Eusebius, says James was cast down form the Temple tower. This version of his death further states that he was not killed by the fall, and so his head was smashed in with a fuller’s club, which may have been a club used to beat clothing or a hammer used by blacksmiths.

            Elected to fill the vacant place of Judas, almost nothing is known about him. It is said he was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

            Andrew was the brother of Peter (Matthew 4:18). Tradition says he preached the Gospel to many Asiatic nations, and was martyred in Edessa by being crucified on an X-shaped cross, which came to be know as St. Andrews’ Cross.

            Little is known about Mark except what is written in the New Testament about him. After Paul’s mention of him in 2 timothy 4:11, he disappears from view. Only tradition tells us the possible method of his death, which was that he was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria when he spoke out against a solemn ceremony for their idol Serapis.

            The only account that we have of the martyrdom of the Apostle Peter is from the early Christian writer Hegesippus. His account includes a miraculous appearance by Christ. It seems that when Peter was old (John 21:18). Nero planned to put him to death. When the disciplines heard of this, they begged Peter to flee the city (said to be Rome), which he did after much pleading by the disciples. But when he got to the city gate, he saw Christ walking toward him. Peter fell to his knees and said. “Lord, where are you going?” Christ answered, “I’ve come to be crucified again”. By this, peter understood that it was his time to suffer the death by which Jesus had told him he would glorify God (John 21:19), so he went back into the city. After being captured and taken to his place of martyrdom, he requested that he be crucified in an upside down position because he did not consider himself worthy to be crucified in the same Position as his Lord.

            The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome in A.D. 61, and there wrote his prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. His imprisonment ended approximately three years later during the year that Rome burned, which was in May A.D 64 (see also Acts 28:30) During his brief freedom, Paul may have visited western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor ---he also wrote his first Epistle to Timothy and his Epistle to Titus.
            At first, Nero was blamed for setting fire to Rome, so to direct the blame away from himself he blamed the Christians. As a result, a fierce persecution broke out against them. During it, Paul was arrested and put back into prison in Rome. While in prison this second time he probably wrote his second letter to Timothy. It was his last.
            Not long after, he was judged guilty of crimes against the Emperor and condemned to death. He was taken to the execution block and be headed. It was A.D. 66, just four years before Jerusalem fell.

            The brother of James, he was crucified at Edessa. An ancient city of Mesopotamia, about A.D. 72.

            Tradition says he preached in several countries, then translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India and taught it in that country. For it, he was cruelly beaten and crucified by pagan idolaters.

            Thomas preached the Gospel in Persia, Parthia and India. In Calamina, India, he was tortured by angry pagans, run through with spears, and thrown into the flames of an oven.

            Luke was a Gentile, possibly Greek. It is not known as to when and how he was converted. He was probably a physician in Troas and there converted by Paul, especially since it was at Troas that he attached himself to Paul’s party and started traveling with them. Notice in Acts 16:8-10, that it is at Troas that Luke switches from “they” to “we” in his text ---“And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them”.
            Luke went with Paul to Philippi, but was not imprisoned with him, and did not travel with him after his release. He apparently made Philippi his home and stayed for some time. It’s not until Paul’s visit to Philippi (Acts 20:5-6) about seven years later, that we again meet with Luke. From this time he again traveled with Paul and stayed with him during his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6-21:18). But he disappears once more during Paul’s imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only shows up again when Paul starts for Rome (Acts 27:1). He then stayed with Paul through his first imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). Many bible scholars believe that Luke wrote his Gospel and Acts while in Rome with Paul during this time. During Paul’s second imprisonment, Luke apparently stayed nearby or with Paul, because just before his martyrdom, Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4: 11).
            After Paul’s death, Luke apparently continued to evangelize as he had learned to do with Paul. Exactly when and how he died is unknown. One ancient source states, “He served the Lord without distraction, having neither wife nor children, and at the age of eighty-four he fell asleep in Boeatia (place unknown), full of the Holy Spirit”. Another early source says that he went to Greece to evangelize, and was there martyred by being hung from an olive tree in Athens in A.D. 93.

            The Apostle John, brother of James, is credited with founding the seven churches of Revelation: Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Thyatira, and Ephesus. It was from Ephesus, it is said, that he was arrested and sent to Rome where he was cast into a large vessel filled with boiling oil that did not harm him. As a result, he was released and banished by the Emperor Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. After being released from Patmos he returned to Ephesus where he died about A.D. 98. The only apostle to escape a violent death.
            Even with all the continual persecutions and violent deaths, the lord added to the Church daily those who would be saved. The church was now deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and watered abundantly with the blood of saints. She was prepared for the cruel persecutions that were to come.

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 wile 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

During the reign of Galus Caligula (37-41 A.D), one of the worst emperors of Rome, the people of Alexandria burned down several Jewish synagogues and set up images of the emperor in the rest. The Jews protested vigorously against such an outrage, and there was civil strife and bloodshed in the city until each side sent an embassy to wait upon the Emperor. The Jewish embassy was headed by the learned philosopher Philo, who has left a description of the interview, which J.B. Bury has summarized.

First Christian Community in Jerusalem: The founding of the church was completed on Pentecost Day, when the Holy Ghost descended upon the disciples who were assembled in Jerusalem together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Immediately the apostles, who had hither to been weak men, earthly-minded, and distrustful of themselves, became bold and determined. Filled with “power from on high”, they issued from the upper room and faced the great crowd that had gathered in the city from all parts of the world for the festival. Peter, their spokesman, declared: Jesus of Nazareth, whom God approved by wonders and signs, whom you have crucified and slain by the hands of wicked men, - this Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses; therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord and Christ this same Jesus whom you have crucified” (Cf. Acts 2, 22ff).
Deeply moved by the words of the Apostle, three thousand men and women asked to be baptized. In a few days their number grew to five thousand. Most of these remained in Jerusalem and formed with the Apostles and disciples of the Lord the first Christian Community; the rest returned to their homes after the festival days were over and became the first missionaries of the church. The feast of Pentecost was thus, in the real sense of the word, the Birthday of the church.
The faithful in Jerusalem were “one heart and one soul”. At first they continued to attend the services in the temple with their neighbors and following the example of our lord, also went to the synagogues. But they had their own meetings, too, usually on the first day of the week, where they could worship God according to their belief in Christ. Besides this, they met frequently, if not daily, in private for the “breaking of bread”, that is, for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which was usually preceded by the Agape or Love-feast.
Their genuine love for one another and the great number of poor people in the community gave rise to a species of Communism. “They had all things in common. For as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the price of the things they sold and laid it down before the feet of the apostles, and distribution was made to everyone according as he had need” (Cf. Acts 4). But this   community of goods was absolutely voluntary, as we know from the story of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5).
First persecution: As the number of the believers increased, the Pharisees and the priests took alarm. They summoned Peter and John before the Great Council and forbade them, under pain of the severest punishment; to preach in the name of Jesus. But the Apostles replied boldly that they were bound to obey God rather than man (Acts 4.19) Not long afterwards they were arrested a second time and would no doubt have been put to death if a Pharisee named Gamaliel, “ a doctor of the law, respected by all the people’, had not intervened in their behalf. “If this counsel or this work be of men”, he said, “it will come to naught; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it”. The fanatical Pharisees were for the time satisfied with this judgment, and the Apostles were dismissed, but not before they had been ignominiously scourged. Rejoicing that they had been accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus, Peter and John continued to teach and preach as before, in the temple and from house to house.
St. Stephen, the Proto-Martyr: The church in Jerusalem was composed of Palestinian Jews and Greek-speaking Jews of the Dispersion (Known as Hellenists). Stephen, one of the seven, was a man of exceptional gifts. He was “full of faith and the Holy Ghost’; and as his spiritual power manifested itself in mighty deeds and words, he became a marked man in Jerusalem. Being himself a Jew of Greek culture, he naturally tried to win over his fellow Hellenists. A public       disputation took place between them in a synagogue which was frequented chiefly by Jews from North African and Asia. In eloquent language Stephen vindicated the claim of Jesus to be the promised Messias. But they treated his words as “blasphemies against Moses and against God.” Pharisaic zealots seized him and brought him before the Sanhedrin on the charge of speaking against the temple and the law. Stephen defended himself with fire and dignity. He upbraided them for their obstinacy and accused them of being the betrayers and murderers of the Messiahs: in conclusion he cried out: “I see the heaves opened, and the son of man standing on the right hand of God”.
The infuriated listeners, without even going through the formality of condemning him to death, dragged him out of the city and stoned him. With a prayer for his executioners, the first martyr of Christ went to his eternal reward.
The death of Stephen was the signal for a violent persecution of the followers of Jesus. The faithful were dispersed through Judea and Samaria, and even as four as Syria and the island of Cyprus. The apostles alone remained in Jerusalem.

The First Martyr-Apostle: The storm of persecution had gradually subsided. During the reign of the Emperor Gaius Caligula the High- Priest and the Great council had other matters to attend to. Caligula insisted on being worshiped as a god by his subjects. When the Jews protested, he ordered the governor of Syria to set up his statue in the temple of Jerusalem. On the intervention of Herod Agrippa the order was countermanded. Great was the joy of the Jews when this same Herod Agrippa, the grand-son of Herod the Great, was appointed by the Emperor Claudius king of the Jews (41-44). His zeal, private and public for Judaism is praised by the Jewish writers of the time, and we have a typical example of it in the persecution which he started against the hated followers of Jesus. Looking about for a victim among the apostles who should be scarified to the animosity of the Jews, it was on James the Elder, the brother of John, that the blow fell first. About the feast of the Passover, 44 A.D; James was seized by his order and condemned to be killed with the sword. A tradition preserved by clement of Alexandria tells how the accuser of the apostle, “beholding his confession and moved thereby, confessed that he too was a Christian. So they were both led away to execution together; and on the road the accuser asked James for forgiveness. Gazing on him for a little while, he said, “Peace be with thee”, and kissed him, and then both were beheaded together”.
Seeing that the execution of James pleased the Jews, Agrippa laid hands on peter also and imprisoned him, intending to put him to death after the Passover. But the whole church prayed to God for him, and he was miraculously delivered from prison by an angel. He retired to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, and then went to “another place”. Agrippa died soon afterwards at Caesarea, “eaten up by worms,” and the church was at peace once more.
Hailed as a God- then stoned:                                                                             
At Lystra Paul healed a poor cripple who had listened intently to his preaching and in his heart believed in Christ. When the multitude saw what Paul had done, they thought the gods had come down to them, as they had come of old — so the story went — in this very land to Philemon and Baucis. They called Barnabas, Jupiter, and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker; and oxen and garlands were brought, and all things prepared in order to offer sacrifice to them. But when the apostles rent their garments in grief and declared that they were mere mortals, the enthusiasm of the fickle crowd quickly turned into hatred. At the instigation of some Jews who had come from Pisidia and Iconium, they stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, believing him to be dead. But he soon recovered, and on the following day set out with Barnabas for Antioch where they reported to the brethren “all that God had done with them and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles”.
Vinctus Christi - The Prisoner of Christ:- He was received with open arms by the brethren, but when he was falsely accused of having taken the Greek Christian Trophimus with him into the temple, the Jews caused a riot, determined to stone him to death. He was rescued by the Roman tribune Claudius Lysias. To prevent further attempts against his life, Lysias sent him in chains to Caesarea, where the Jews were free to bring forward their accusations against him before the tribunal of Felix, the procurator of Judea. Anxious to humor the Jews, Felix kept Paul a prisoner for two years, hoping at the same time that Paul or his friends would purchase his freedom with a handsome bribe.

The first Roman Christians: The members of the church in Rome were mainly Gentiles, with a minority of Jews and proselytes. As in every other city where Christianity took root, serious dissensions arose between the synagogue and the church. The Jews even resorted to acts of violence, and the police had to interfere. To get rid of the turbulent Jews, the Emperor Claudius issued a decree banishing both parties from Rome. Before long both returned, and the Roman Church grew so rapidly and showed such signs of living faith that it soon became known throughout the Empire. We have already seen what St. Paul’s presence in Rome meant for the Christian community, and how the faith spread through his preaching.

St. Paul’s Last Mission Tour:
The hope of an early release from his captivity, which Paul expressed in his letters to the Philippians and to Philemon, was fulfilled. He was acquitted before the tribunal of Nero and, it seems, immediately carried out his intention of visiting Spain. From there, as we can gather from the first Epistle to Timothy and from the Epistle to Titus, he journeyed eastward. He spent some time in Ephesus and left Timothy there. In Crete he founded a Christian community and placed it incharge of Titus. He was in Miletus and in Troas. The rest of his movements are veiled in darkness...
Burning of Rome under Nero and the persecution of the Christians:
On the l8” of July, 64 A.D. some storehouses near the Circus Maximus caught fire. The flames rushed on with inconceivable rapidity and fastened upon the whole center of Rome. For ten days the conflagration raged. Ten of the fourteen districts of the city were destroyed. The rumor spread that Nero himself had caused the fire. It was reported that “at the very time Rome was in flames, he sang the destruction of Troy in his private theater, likening the present disaster to the ancient catastrophe”. In order to divert the masses from what they believed to be the true origin of the fire, Nero, perhaps at the suggestion of the Jews, charged it to the Christians. A few of these were at once arrested and a false confession of guilt forced from them by torture. Through them the names of other Christians were learned, and then a huge multitude were seized. When they were brought to trial, it was impossible to convict them of incendiarism; so the accusation of being “enemies of the human race”, of practicing magic, and of perpetrating the most abominable crimes was lodged against them, and they were delivered over to the most excruciating tortures and death. Many were covered with skins and tossed to hungry dogs to be devoured; others were crucified or burned to death in the gardens of Nero. There were women, too, amongst the Martyrs. Like Dirce in the Greek myth, they were tossed and gored by wild bulls in the arena or, like the daughters of Danaos, were given as prizes to the Victors in the gladiatorial contests and then murdered in cold blood.

The Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul: According to a very credible tradition, Paul was in the East when the persecution against the Christians broke out in Rome. He met St. Peter in Corinth, and they traveled together to Rome. Here they were seized and thrown into prison. From this prison Paul wrote to his “beloved son” Timothy, giving him some account of his sufferings and urging him to come to him as speedily as possible. He was ill treated, he says, “even unto fetters as an evil door”. He is not certain as yet of his approaching death. But he sees his blood “already poured out in sacrifice,” and the time of his departure at hand. “I have fought the good fight, I have tñshed my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of justice which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming’ (2 Tim. 4,6-8).
Perhaps there is noting to sublime in all the writings of Paul as line words of the aged athlete, whose faith is stronger than ever, who knows no weariness, who leaves the stadium because the race Is been won.
St. Peter was martyred in the Circus of Nero. A constant
Raman tradition asserts that he died on the cross, like his Divine master
His mangled remains were buried nearby, and over his grave the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, erected the first church of St. Peter. St. Paul, being a Roman citizen, was beheaded on Ostian way. The magnificent basilica of “St. Paul Outside the Walls” marks the place of his martyrdom.
In after ages the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles were the goal of numberless pilgrims from every Christian land. It was the vision of the Martyr - Apostles that inspired the Christian poet to pen the beautiful lines sung by the church on their festival day:
0 happy Rome! Who in thy martyr-princes’ blood,
A twofold stream art washed and doubly sanctified.
All earthly beauty thou outshinest far
Empurpled their outpoured life-blood’s glorious tide.
To all appearances the persecution of the Christians was confined to the city of Rome; but here it lasted till the death of Nero. The impression which it made on the Roman world was deep and lasting: henceforth the Christian name was outlawed; to bear it was to be branded as a criminal, and therefore worthy of death. The life and death struggle between Christianity and pagan Rome had begun; it was not decided for nearly three hundred years.
Nero Persecutes the Christians: The historian Tacitus, who was a boy in Rome when the persecution took place, gives the following description of the outrages, tortures, and deaths to which the Christians were subjected by the infamous Nero:
“In order to stifle the rumor that he had him self set Rome on fire, Nero falsely charged with the guilt and punished with the most fearful tortures the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their wicked practices. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius; but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters as to a common receptable and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first those were seized who confessed; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of hating the human race.
“In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own gardens for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man”.
-Tacitus, Annals, XV,44

-           Church History by Fr. John Laux, M.A
-           The New Foxes book of Martyrs by John Foxe
            Rewritten and updated by Harold J, Chadwick
-           A Short History of the Early Church By Harry R. Boer 

[1] Bishop H.M. Turner, d.D, LLD (1885)
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