St. Justin, Martyr
Justin was born in Nablus, Samaria, around A.D. 100. His parents were pagan Greeks. They gave him a classic Greek education in history, poetry, rhetoric and philosophy. Indeed, it was Justin's interest in philosophy that eventually sparked is curiosity about Christianity.
He was impressed by what he read and heard about the new religion. Justin also witnessed the extraordinary courage of Christian martyrs and felt the joy of those who had accepted Jesus. He converted to the faith around age 30, though he continued to accept many of the teachings of Greek philosophers, such as Plato.
Around 150, Justin moved to Rome. There, he started a Christian school and wrote some of his major works, defending Christianity in philosophical terms.
Stimulated by intellectual debate, Justin frequently discussed Christianity with philosophers and religious teachers. Once, he became embroiled in a debate with a Cynic philosopher named Crescens and successfully out-reasoned Crescens, publicly humiliating him.
Soon after, Justin and six of his students were arrested for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods, possibly because Crescens had sought revenge and reported him to authorities. All six were brought before a Roman prefect, who offered Justin a reprieve if he would make a sacrifice to Roman gods. Bravely, Justin refused, stating he would be rewarded in heaven for his faith.
Justin and his students were first whipped and then beheaded in accordance with Roman law. It is believe that some Christians later recovered their bodies and buried them in secret.
Almighty and everlasting God,
who found your martyr Justin
wandering from teacher to teacher,
seeking the true God,
and revealed to him
the sublime wisdom of Your eternal Word:
Grant that all who seek You,
or a deeper knowledge of You,
may find and be found by You;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
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