At Lyons and Vienne, in Gaul, there were missionary centers which had drawn many Christians from Asia and Greece. Persecution began in 177.
At first, Christians were excluded from the public baths, the market place, and from social and public life. They were subject to attack when they appeared in public, and many Christian homes were vandalized. At this point the government became involved, and began to take Christians into custody for questioning. Some slaves from Christian households were tortured to obtain confessions, and were induced to say that Christians practiced cannibalism and incest. These charges were used to arouse the whole city against the Christians, particularly against Pothinus, the aged bishop of Lyons; Sanctus, a deacon; Attalus; Maturus, a recent convert; and Blandina, a slave. Pothinus was beaten and then released, to die of his wounds a few days later. Sanctus was tormented with red-hot irons. Blandina, tortured all day long, would say nothing except, "I am a Christian, and nothing vile is done among us." Finally, the survivors were put to death in the public arena.
Propers for the Martyrs of Lyon
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Epistle - 1 Peter 1:3-9
The Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38
Reference and Resources: