Saturday, July 25, 2009

Famous last words: Babylas, Bishop of Antioch

When people hear of the persecution facing Christians around the world, it’s common for them to say something like, “I guess we should be more grateful for the privilege of living in a free country where we can worship in freedom.”  Has it ever struck you as odd how we thank God for the privilege of not suffering for persecution when early Christians (and many still today) thanked God for the privilege to suffer for Christ’s sake? See Acts 5:41, for example.

babylas When Babylas was the bishop of Antioch, he managed to offend a Roman governor for reasons that are not entirely clear to historians.  Whatever the reason, when he refused to obey governor’s command to offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods as a means to gain the his forgiveness, Babylas was thrown into prison where he was chained, badly mistreated and eventually died in 251 A.D. Before his death, he asked to be buried in his chains and went to his death rejoicing that he was counted worthy to suffer for Christ. His last words were, “Return unto your rest, my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

18 months ago, my wife & I moved from our evangelical protestant roots and converted to the Orthodox Christian church.

Each week and at every service we remind ourselves that we stand in worship together with the martyrs of 20 centuries of the Faith. It's humbling - we haven't forgotten them.

(If you've ever visited an Orthodox church you'll know what I mean - we have icons - images - of these heros of our Faith covering the walls of our worship spaces.)

In most of our services (the daily formal prayer services etc) we specifically remember those "...who suffered under communism and have suffered and still suffer under the Islamic yoke.."

Thanks Glenn, and VoM, for helping to keep their memories alive for our protestant brethren who typically don't have those same reminders in their formal church settings.

Melbourne, Australia