Martyrs


How many martyrs do we not know?  For some reason, this is shocking, to me.  Imagine dying for God and no one knows.  Of course, God knows; but it doesn't seem right that there is no memorial or feast day, to acknowledge the martyr's sacrifice.

What brought on this line of thought?  Pope St. Martin I.  I don't think much is known about him.  He was elected pope in 649, which was a time when he knew he would probably die a martyr.  All the early popes were martyred.  How's that for a job description?  Why would anyone want the job?  There was no money in it.  There was negligible influence.  One would have to have a deep faith and trust in God to accept the position, otherwise, why do it.

When Martin I became pope, the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential church leader in the world because Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire.  Also, the emperor of the Byzantine empire worked in conjunction with the patriarch.  There was no separation between church and state.

Prominent at the time was a teaching that stated that Jesus Christ had no human will.  We believe that Jesus had both -- human and divine.  The emperor believed in one divine will, only.  Martin I called an ecumenical council, Lateran, and condemned the teaching.  The emperor tried to turn the people and their bishops against the pope.  He tried to have the pope assassinated.  Then he sent his troops to Rome and captured Martin to bring him to Constantinople.  Martin was an ill man, anyway.  He died after being imprisoned and tortured.

For some reason, Pope Martin I's story touched me.  May he live in eternal life.

For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.

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