Today the church honors a martyr of the faith, Blandina who, along with her companions, was killed at Lyons.
She, and those with her, were beaten by the majority population who felt they were deviants. They were unduly tortured, and thrown in prison. The Bishop Pothinus, at 90 years old, died in prison after being beaten with the group.
If the prisoners would not give up their faith, the Roman citizens in the lot were to be beheaded at the command of Marcus Aurelius. The rest would be used for sport in the amphitheater, killed by wild beasts as crowds cheered and jeered, as if at a rally with the local politicians leading the chants.
Blandina and her companions were brought up on trumped up charges, including indecent acts. Blandina, when asked to confess to these acts, is reported to have simply said, “I am a Christian, and we do nothing vile.”
Reportedly there were 48 martyrs, of all ages and all walks of life. The church historian Eusebius said of them, “They offered up to God a single wreath, but it was woven of diverse colors and flowers of all kinds.”
Blandina is a reminder for me today of just how long our human systems of injustice have been operating. It reminds me of what trumped up charges and group-think can do to people.
The martyrdom of Blandina and her companions is a witness to me, and to the church, that a diverse group of people can stand together in the face of opposition and that, when push comes to shove, no nationality can save us in the end…after all, the Roman citizens were beheaded…and only God is in the saving business.
The wreath of humanity, precious to the Divine, is woven of diverse colors and flowers of all kind…and we must stand as one, by God.
-historical notes taken from Pfatteicher’s “New Book of Festivals & Commemorations”