"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Mass martyrdoms

The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, by Dürer.
Their executions were varied and heinous, including
being thrown from heights.

Throughout the history of Christianity there have been periods of mass martyrdom.

We are obviously suffering through such an era once again today... perhaps even 'state sponsored' - much as it was in the earliest times.  Which is why I posted the image of The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, by Dürer.

The altarpiece depicts the legend of the ten thousand Christians who were martyred on Mount Ararat, in a massacre perpetrated by the Persian King Saporat on the command of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Antonius. 
Dürer’s gruesome scene depicts scores of Christians meeting a violent death in a rocky landscape, providing a veritable compendium of tortures and killings. The oriental potentate in the blue cloak and turban who is directing the action in the lower right corner of the picture, would in Dürer’s time have been perceived as a reference to the threat of Turkish invasion, because of the seizure of Constantinople in 1453. - Source
Persia - on the command of Rome - executed the thousands.  The artist depicts the Persians as the Turkish Caliphate - which threatened Western Christendom after the fall of Constantinople.  (Don't depend on me for specific dates - I'm simply drawing a parallel.)

The image is provocative - at least for me.  Lately I wonder, why the United States refuses to admit that ISIS is Islamic and poses a threat?  Why is the administration reluctant to come to the aid of Christians?  What is with Obama - even Clinton - with her private emails - especially with the scandal of the Benghazi attack shadowing her?  Why is she even considered as presidential material after such a blunder?  Is the United States somehow complicit in at least allowing ISIS to destabilize the Middle East and leaving behind Christians as simply collateral damage?

Sounds crazy?  I suppose it does - but what is going on?  I don't understand the denial, the indifference.

They "came with war, knives, pillaging, forced enslavement, murders, and acts that are not from the good God, but instigated by the chief manslayer, the devil."

That said, Christian bloggers and websites should not satirize ISIS persecution - be it making fun of these devils throwing homosexuals from tall buildings, beheading those they wish to exterminate, or threatening the Holy Father.  All of that is inappropriate.    The terror of Islam is real, their manner of killing barbarous, macabre, and gruesomely inventive.  They behead, they maim and dismember.  They throw from cliffs and towers and stone their victims, and they burn them alive.  In times past, they flayed their victims.

On the other hand, a friend sent me this from St. Gregory Palamas:
St. Gregory Palamas (ca. 1296-1359) on Islam: It is true that Mohammed started from the east and came to the west, as the sun travels from the east unto the west. Nevertheless, he came with war, knives, pillaging, forced enslavement, murders, and acts that are not from the good God, but instigated by the chief manslayer, the devil. Consider now, in times past, did not Alexander (the Great) prove victorious from the east to the west? There have also been many others, in many other times, who set out on military campaigns and dominated the world. Yet none of the peoples believed in their leaders as you revere Mohammed. Though Mohammed may employ violence and offer pleasures, he cannot secure the approval of the world. 
Albeit, the teaching of Christ, though it turns away from (worldly) pleasures, it has taken hold to the ends of the world, without violence, since it is opposed to it. This phenomenon is the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:4). - Source
Man in center is the convert-martyr from Chad.

“their God is my God“

 And stop making distinctions, when it comes to Christian baptism there is one baptism.  I may be wrong but it seems to me that when it comes to baptism by blood, there is only one martyrdom as well.  The Coptic martyrs belong to all of us who profess Christ.  Perhaps this story, so evocative of the first martyrs and subsequent group martyrdom throughout history, can convince us of that:
ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya(Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian Hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians(Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim? 
Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian Citizen (Darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When Terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God“ so the terrorist beheaded him also. - Source


"Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, 
causing wars, persecutions of the Church. 
The good will be martyred..." - OL Fatima

Prayer to OL of Ransom

O God, Who by means of the most glorious 
Mother of Thy Son 
was pleased to give new children to Thy Church 
for the deliverance of Christ's faithful 
from the power of the heathen; 
grant, we beseech Thee, 
that we who love and honor her as the foundress 
of so great a work 
may, by her merits and intercession, 
be ourselves delivered from all sin 
and from the bondage of the evil one. 
Through the same Christ, our Lord.


H/T Yaya for the story of the martyr from Chad.
H/T Nan for the St. Gregory quote.


  1. “their God is my God“

    And he is mine as well. What powerful words of grace and glory. A testimony that will stand for all eternity. I am...no, we are all blessed to witness such love and courage at this moment in history.

    May our faith be so powerful

    Looking at these holy martyrs and looking at their faces...serene and calm as if gazing upon the Risen One who awaits them as He stands before them.

    Viva Cristo Rey!

  2. This post is SO painful to read but those 21 men are so inspirational.

  3. what do you think about this video? I found it on facebook with most of teenage british commenting on 'how rude' the presenter is:

  4. "...but what is going on? I don't understand the denial, the indifference." Me neither.

  5. I feel so very helpless in the face of all that is happening. How wish there could be a massive 'protest' of any kind - a huge march in d.c., anything, to show support for these abandoned people - because I just keep thinking: how alone they must feel, how deeply betrayed by the world, how unknown (to us) most of them are and will always be - would it not be consoling to their families to hear/see that americans know about and abhor "is". I know it is a silly idea, but How I Wish there was something we could do - yes, prayer, but more, much more. In many ways this seems like the beginnings of the nazi's. I think I will be re-reading "Salvation Is From The Jews", a great book by a brilliant Catholic convert, Roy Schoeman -
    I remember his discussion of the demonic involvement in Hitler and his minions. Do we not see this same manifestation now - and Terry - Obama et al - they all know what is going on, and it isn't just political expediency to ignore/distort/spin - I can't say of course what in within anyone in their moral life - but to me they represent Perfectly our culture - it is like - here we are, they were all voted in or approved of by our citizens, and they Do indeed represent 'us'. Disengaged emotionally: morally depraved: big egos: arrogant in our superiority in the world: need I go on. we have met the enemy and he is us - whether we voted for them or not. but: in the end nothing remains hidden..............


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.