Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Blandina


During the summer of AD 177, Irenaeus, who was the pastor of the church in Lyons observed that the persecution against Christians in his community was growing. Christians were first prohibited from entering any public place like the baths or the market place. Second, Christians were being attacked openly for expressing their faith. They were publicly beaten, assaulted, and even stoned. Finally, Christians were condemned to death in the public arena.

When individuals were accused of being a Christian and they confessed to be, they were put into prison, tortured and sentenced to death. Everyday, Irenaeus began to watch as professing Christians in his church in Lyons and in the neighboring town of Vienne were arrested and brutally tortured in prison.

  August 1st was named a holiday to celebrate the greatness of Rome and the emperor, (Augustus.) This holiday included the governor of various cities to put on displays of public entertainment such as hiring professional gladiators, boxers, wrestlers, and swordsmen. The year before, believe it or not, the Roman Senate had passed a law to help defray the cost of such debacles which enabled criminals who were non-Roman citizens to be tortured and ordered to fight in these duels to the death rather than pay higher wages to professional gladiators. 

One of those Christians who was arrested for professing her faith in Christ was a slave woman by the name of Blandina. Listen to an eye witness account of Blandina's arrest and martyrdom for confessing Christ.

All of us were in terror; and Blandina's earthly mistress, who herself was among the martyrs in the conflict, was in agony lest because of her bodily weakness she would not be able to make a bold confession of her faith. Yet Blandina was filled with such power that even those who were taking turns to torture her in every way from dawn to dusk were weary and exhausted. They themselves admitted that they were beaten, that there was nothing further they could do to her, and they were surprised that she was still breathing for her entire body was broken and torn.

Nevertheless, broken and torn, Blandina, the account goes on to say, along with some companions named Marturus, Sanctus, and Attalus were forced into the amphitheater in Lyons. This is the account of her martyrdom:

Blandina was hung on a post an exposed as bait for the wild animals that were let loose on her. She seemed to hang there in the form of a cross, and by her fervent prayer she aroused intense enthusiasm in those were were undergoing their ordeal...But none of the animals touched her, and so she was taken down from the post and brought back to the jail to be preserved for another ordeal...tiny, weak, and insignificant as she was, she should give inspiration to her brothers...Finally, on the last day of the gladiatorial games, they brought back Blandina again, this time with a boy of fifteen named Ponticus. Every day they had been brought in to watch the torture of the others while attempts were made to force them to swear by pagan idols. And because they persevered and condemned their persecutors, the crowd grew angry with them, so that...they subjected them to every atrocity and led them through every torture in turn.

The account states that after Ponticus had suffered by being whipped, mauled by animals and forced into an iron seat suspended over a fire designed to burn flesh he died. Blandina had survived the same tortures was finally tossed into a net and placed in the ring with a bull. She was finally killed by the animal as it tossed her about, goring and stomping her. 

So Blaninda died, keeping her faith and causing the pagans to admit that no woman had ever suffered so much. Blandina honored her Lord and Savior and as her life was stolen from her by those who thought they could destroy her and her faith. Steal it? No, they only thought they had, she willingly offered herself as a living sacrifice as her Lord had once done for her, and for me...


welcome to my world of poetry said...

An excellent "B" word Gregg, I enjoyed the post and was enlightenend at to what you wrote.

Enjoy your week-end.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Oh wow... I am visiting your blog for first time, and I really enjoyed Blandina's story. It gave me goosebumps though. What a courageous woman.

I'm a participant of the A-Z challenge as well :-)


Seams Inspired said...

Beautiful 'B' post, Gregg! I've never heard of Blandina, but am so inspired to meet her on your blog. What an amazing testimony! It's still very difficult for me to perceive the ancient atrocities when I sit in my cozy little home typing away at my keyboard. Thanks for sharing. Happy Saturday! :o)

IanH said...

Gregg, that is an amazing testimony of faith. Where did you find that bit of history?

Sherri said...

There is nothing like hearing the stories of martyrs for the faith to put things into perspective. My husband is a pastor which makes me a pastor's wife. We've been slandered, berated, threatened with lawsuits, etc. but have never been physically harmed like so many brothers and sisters in Christ around the world today. We have a pretty cushy life here in the U.S. compared to most of the world. I feel the need to read Radical by David Platt again.
Thanks for stopping by my website yesterday! Happy A-Z blogging. I'll see you around!

Sarah Allen said...

Beautiful post, and very interesting. Not something I am very familiar with, but I enjoy learning about it. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Ron Joe White said...

Many Blandina's in our day and age around the world are suffering and being martyred for simply being a follower of Christ.

As we continue to lose our religious freedoms in the USA It's only a matter of time until the persecution of Christians will become common place in our country.

Diane said...

Wow! Who could possibly read this account without weeping? Bandina and so many thousands like her will have eternal rewards in Heaven unknown to most of us - and well they should!
They stand as an example to us of courage and of the mighty hand of God who will cause us to perservere under any trials that may come our way.

Thank you for this remarkable post Gregg - I've added it to my "Well Done" list today.

Trevor Peck said...

Thanks for the post brother! Indeed the grace of God is sufficient for even Blandina. May we be so bold in our boasting in the Lord!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow! Thank you for this moving account of Blandina's faith. I really appreciate your blog and your faith. Thank you for sharing so boldly!

meandmythinkingcap said...

Very informative!

Tessa Conte said...

There's so many saints and martyrs that we don't know much about (or know about at all), and they have such fascinating (though mostly gruesome) stories!

Thankx for sharing Blandina's story,


Cathy M. said...

That was a mighty important "B" post, brother. I'd never heard of Blandina before. (I've never made it all the way through Fox's Book of Martyrs.) Thanks for sharing this.

Trisha said...

Now that's a creative "B."

Great post, Gregg. We've read about Blandina, too.

Mike said...

I often wonder how Christians in the West (including me) would handle intense physical persecution. Would we die with dignity and grace? I hope so. Great job!

Penned Pebbles said...

Wow, what an immense 'B' post, Gregg! And some of us get upset when somebody looks at us sideways. Thank you, and God bless!

Brooke Lorren said...

I read about her last fall when I was reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs. I fear that some of us may have to make the same choices in the years to come, even in America.

Becky said...

Blandina's story is one of those that make me think how suffering for the sake of Christ is a God given gift. (as Paul said in his letter to the Philippians)

It is my prayer that if U ever have to face persecution, I would do like Blandina.

Thank you for sharing this!

Niki said...

People can do such horrific things to each other. What a strong lady.


Raquel Byrnes said...

That was eye opening. Thanks.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Alison Miller said...

What a fabulous B post! I can only aspire to be as faithful as Blandina

Kari Marie said...

Amazing woman and excellent B entry.

Manzanita said...

Thank you for stopping at my blog. A very interesting B subject. Her demise sounds gruesome for today's audience. But it was Blandina's chosen agenda.
Wanna buy a duck

Carla said...

Wow, that's really amazing. I'd never heard of Blandina before. What a strong woman!


Arlee Bird said...

I have never heard this story before. It was fascinating.

Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during challenge I will not be doing so during April. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

Great start to the challenge.

mymy said...

what a powerful story!
thank you so much for sharing.