St Justin, Martyr – 01 June
Pagan philosopher who converted at age 30 by reading the Scriptures and witnessing the heroism and faith of martyrs. Used his philosophical and oratorical skills to dispute with pagans and explain the faith, becoming one of the first great Christian apologists. He opened a school of public debate in Rome, Italy. All this naturally brought him to the attention of the authorities, and he died a martyr.
He was born in c.100 at Nablus, Palestine and beheaded in 165 at Rome, Italy.
As by the Word of God, Jesus our Savior was made Flesh and had both Flesh and Blood for our salvation, so also the food which has been blessed by the word of prayer instituted by Him is both the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Incarnate. – Saint Justin Martyr
The saints were seized and brought before the prefect of Rome, whose name was Rusticus. As they stood before the judgment seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin, “Above all, have faith in the gods and obey the emperors.” Justin replied, “We cannot be accused or condemned for obeying the commands of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Rusticus said, “What system of teaching do you profess?” Justin said, “I have tried to learn about every system, but I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians, though these are not approved by those who are held fast by error.” The prefect Rusticus said, “Are those doctrines approved by you, wretch that you are?” Justin said, “Yes, for I follow them with their correct teaching.” The prefect Rusticus said, “What sort of teaching is that?” Justin said, “Worship the God of the Christians. We hold him to be from the beginning the one creator and maker of the whole creation, of things seen and things unseen. We worship also the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Rusticus said, “You are a Christian, then?” Justin said, “Yes, I am a Christian.” The prefect said to Justin, “You are called a learned man and think you know what is true teaching. Listen: if you were scourged and beheaded, are you convinced that you would go up to heaven?” Justin said, “I hope that I shall enter God’s house if I suffer in that way. For I know that God’s favor is stored up until the end of the whole world for all who have lived good lives.” The prefect Rusticus said, “Do you have an idea that you will go up to heaven to receive some suitable rewards?” Justin said, “It is not an idea that I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain.” The prefect Rusticus said, “Now let us come to the point at issue, which is necessary and urgent. Gather round then and with one accord offer sacrifice to the gods.” Justin said, “No one who is right-thinking stoops from true worship to false worship.” The prefect Rusticus said, “If you do not do as you are commanded you will be tortured without mercy.” Justin said, “We hope to suffer torment for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so be saved.” In the same way the other martyrs also said, “Do what you will. We are Christians; we do not offer sacrifice to idols.” The prefect Rusticus pronounced sentence, saying, “Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the command of the emperor be scourged and led away to suffer capital punishment according to the ruling of the laws.” Glorifying God, the holy martyrs were beheaded, and so fulfilled their witness of martyrdom in confessing their faith in their Savior. – from the
Through Christ we received new life and we consecrated ourselves to God. I will explain the way in which we did this. Those who believe what we teach is true and who give assurance of their ability to live according to that teaching are taught to ask God’s forgiveness for their sins by prayer and fasting and we pray and fast with them. We then lead them to a place where there is water and they are reborn in the same way as we were reborn; that is to say, they are washed in the water in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the whole universe, of our Savior Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit. This is done because Christ said: Unless you are born again you will not enter the kingdom of heaven, and it is impossible for anyone, having once been born, to reenter his mother’s womb. An explanation of how repentant sinners are to be freed from their sins is given through the prophet Isaiah in the words: Wash yourselves and be clean. Remove the evil from your souls; learn to do what is right. Be just to the orphan, vindicate the widow. Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. If your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as wool; if they are like crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if you do not heed me, you shall be devoured by the sword. The mouth of the Lord has spoken. The apostles taught us the reason for this ceremony of ours. Our first birth took place without our knowledge or consent because our parents came together, and we grew up in the midst of wickedness. So if we were not to remain children of necessity and ignorance, we needed a new birth of which we ourselves would be conscious, and which would be the result of our own free choice. We needed, too, to have our sins forgiven. This is why the name of God, the Father and Lord of the whole universe, is pronounced in the water over anyone who chooses to be born again and who has repented of his sins. The person who leads the candidate for baptism to the font calls upon God by this name alone, for God so far surpasses our powers of description that no one can really give a name to him. Anyone who dares to say that he can must be hopelessly insane. This baptism is called “illumination” because of the mental enlightenment that is experienced by those who learn these things. The person receiving this enlightenment is also baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold everything concerning Jesus. – from the first apology in defense of the Christians by Saint Justin, martyr