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Persecution of Christians. Ancient and Modern. Ancient…. Persecution may begin as ridicule…. Nero. AD 64, Nero - first official persecution of Christians by Rome Scapegoats because of a fire that destroyed parts of Rome?

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persecution of christians

Persecution of Christians

Ancient and Modern


Persecution may begin as ridicule…

  • AD 64, Nero - first official persecution of Christians by Rome
  • Scapegoats because of a fire that destroyed parts of Rome?
  • Thrown to lions, burnt alive to provide lights in his public gardens, made to fight gladiatorial combat…
secret places and signs
The secret sign of the fish – ICHTHUS - was used by Christians

It’s a Greek acrostic for ‘Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour’

In Rome it became common for Christians to meet in the burial places – the catacombs

Romans weren’t so keen on following them

Secret Places and Signs…
perpetua felicity early 3 rd c
Perpetua & Felicity (early 3rd C)
  • Refusing to give up their Christianity, they and three companions were led into the amphitheatre.
  • The mob wanted blood; the five were whipped; then were set upon by wild animals
  • Wounded by the wild animals, they were then finished off by the sword
  • Both Perpetua and Felicity were young mothers

Renaissance representation of the martyrdom of St Felicity

further outbreaks
Further outbreaks
  • Persecution of Christians continued on and off for next 240 years
  • The Emperor Diocletian began the last fierce assault on Christianity in 303 AD
modern fr jerzy popie uszko
Modern?… Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko
  • During the period of martial law in Communist Poland
  • Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko was associated with workers and trade unionists from the Solidarity movement
  • The priest was beaten and murdered by three Security Police officers. Then, his body was dumped
  • It was recovered on October 30, 1984.
modern bishop romero
Modern?… Bishop Romero
  • As an archbishop, he witnessed numerous violations of human rights in El Salvador, Central America
  • He began a ministry speaking out on behalf of the poor and victims of the country's civil war.
  • The government of El Salvador denounced him.
  • In 1980, he was assassinated by gunshot while consecrating the Eucharist during mass.
jean donovan companions
Jean Donovan & Companions
  • El Salvador had been ruled by the military, which protected the wealthy landowners
  • In the 1980s, the country was in the midst of civil war.
  • As people demanded their rights, the military responded brutally…
  • The Church began to speak up for the poor
  • The missionary women, who transported refugees and distributed food and medicine to the poor
  • They were all found in a shallow grave…