Marytrs (d. 177)
+ These 48 martyrs formed Christian community in the area around the towns of Lyons and Vienne, France.
+ Already forbidden from entering the marketplace, baths, amphitheater, and other public areas because of their Christian faith, the martyrs were later attacked by their pagan neighbors and executed during the persecutions of the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
+ The memory was kept alive by Saint Irenaeus of Lyons who sent a letter recounting their sufferings to the Pope Saint Eleutherius and the churches in the Middle East.
+ The best-known of these martyrs was the slave girl Saint Blandina. Devotion to this virgin-martyr spread throughout Europe and she became one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages.
+ The witness of these martyrs testifies to the growth of the Church in Gaul (modern-day France) in the second century and their memory was celebrated throughout the Early Church.
The amphitheater where many of the martyrs died has survived and can still be seen in the town of Lyons. A pole in the center of the arena stands as tribute to these early martyrs.
“They humbled themselves under the powerful hand by which they are now highly exalted.10 Then they pleaded for all, but accused none. They absolved all. They bound none. They prayed for those who inflicted the tortures.”—From the letter recounting the suffering of the martyrs, attributed to Saint Irenaeus
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.
(from Holy Women, Holy Men)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.