Today is one of the most important days of the year. It is a day to fix our eyes on Jesus and watch him empty himself on a cross–for us and for our salvation.
When we talk of persecution of Christians during the Roman period we generally think of the 10 great persecutions of the Roman Empire. This notion that there were ten great persecutions dates from the fourth century and the lists vary slightly. This list is based on Foxe’s Book of Martyrs via the sites listed at the bottom. The Romans were generally open on religious matters absorbing the various gods into an ever expanding pantheon as they sauntered across the world.
Christianity violated the Roman notion of what a religion should be and how it related to society in general. Christians were considered atheists in some quarters because they were worshiping a God that had no image. Christianity was branded a superstition in others because the resurrection story had no precedent in Roman thought. The Romans thought that Christianity was generally not good for the society. In the third century, the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry provided an interesting perspective:
How can people not be in every way impious and atheistic who have apostatized from the customs of our ancestors through which every nation and city is sustained? … What else are they than fighters against God?
If this is the why for the persecution than the what of it will follow. Here is a list of the Ten Great Persecutions:Read More »