Inspiring Lives From Church History

The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_geromePeople have been living and dying for Christ for over 2000 years and history is full of wonderful examples of men and women who followed Christ faithfully.  We can learn a lot from studying their lives.  Yet, there is something truly compelling about those who suffer for Him and pay the ultimate price for their faith.

When I read the historical record of what some of these ancient brothers and sisters went through, it challenges me deeply.   I often wonder how I would respond in such situations.  I guess we won’t ever know unless and until we find ourselves in the same place.   The one thing I can say with certainty is that these accounts inspire me to live for Christ.  That is why today, we are beginning a new series.  In it, we will highlight men and women who suffered for Christ, because of their faith.  They won’t be long posts, so you should be able to read them in less than 5 minutes.  My Prayer is that they will cause you to reflect on your own life and faith, inspiring you follow Him more deeply.

Today, we will read about Mark, the Bishop of Arethusa  (361 AD)

Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, suffered for his faith in Christ under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). By order of the emperor Constantine, St Mark had once destroyed a pagan temple and built a Christian church.

When Julian came to the throne, he persecuted Christians and tried to restore paganism. Some citizens of Arethusa renounced Christianity and became pagans. Then St Mark’s enemies decided to take revenge on him. The old bishop hid himself from the persecutors at first, but then gave himself up when he learned that the pagans had tortured many people in their search for him.

The holy Elder was led through the city and given over to torture. They tore out his hair, slashed his body, dragged him along the street, dumped him in a swamp, tied him up, and cut him with knives.

The pagans demanded that the holy bishop pay them a large sum of money to rebuild the pagan temple, and he refused to do so. The persecutors invented several new torments: they squeezed the Elder in a foot-press, and they cut off his ears with linen cords. Finally, they smeared the holy martyr’s body with honey and grease, then hung him up in a basket in the hot mid-day sun to be eaten by bees, wasps, and hornets. St Mark did not seem to notice the pain, and this irritated the tormentor all the more.

The pagans kept lowering the price he had to pay for their temple, but St Mark refused to give them a single coin. Admiring him for his courage and endurance, the pagans stopped asking him for money and set him free. Many of them returned to Christ after hearing his talks.

St Gregory the Theologian  describes the sufferings of St Mark in his First Oration against Julian. Theodoritus of Cyrrhus also mentions him in his CHURCH HISTORY (Book 3, Ch. 6)

Read about another inspiring life from church history here

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on April 1, 2013, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Good stuff Jim. It’s these stories that embarrass me when I see how little suffering and persecution it takes to make me stumble. I look forward to these offerings. The flip-side is how much I take for granted the privilege of freedom to worship, never acknowledging how much grace God has given in nations like America. Thanks friend.

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  2. Wow…

    What a reminder of how small indeed are my sufferings and complaints. Thank you for posting this.

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  3. “Can’t all you wretched Romans see that no one would endure these things without good reason? Don’t you realize that they couldn’t bear tortures without the power of God?” (Minucius Felix, The Octavius, c. AD 200)

    The power of God is all that could make me imagine that I could endure tortures like that. Phenomenal inspiration.

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  1. Pingback: Odds and Ends… mostly odds « Resting in His Grace

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