Today the church remembers Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons, 177.Lyons in Gaul (France) was the scene of one of the most terrible persecutions the early church had to endure. The Christians there were accused, as elsewhere, of atheism, blasphemy, treason, sexual perversion, and cannibalism. The governor, hoping to please the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, staged public trials which lasted for several days and in which the populace was stirred into a mad frenzy against the Christians. Many were imprisoned, tortured, and beaten to death. Their remains were thrown to the dogs. Among those mentioned by name in the moving account written by Christian historian Eusebius was Alexander, a physician who was publicly roasted. He professed Christ and, when asked what God"s name was, he replied, “God has no name as men have.” As he died he pointed out to the pagans that they were the ones who consumed human flesh. There was Blandina, “a blessed woman” who, “like a noble athlete,” endured days of excruciating torture, abuse, and humiliation, saying only, “I am a Christian woman and nothing wicked happens among us.” She was gored to death by a bull in the arena. Then there was the notable citizen Attalus, the elderly Bishop Pothinus, a deacon from Vienna named Sanctus, and a boy of fifteen, Ponticus. These and many others were subjected to brutal horrors and torments and were finally killed. Undaunted, they passed out of this world joyfully and victoriously, witnesses to the only living Lord. Give us courage always to profess our faith in you, Lord Christ. Amen.
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Grant, O Lord, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of you, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.