St. Justin the Martyr

justin_martyr.jpgSaint Justin was from Neapolis of Palestine. He was a follower of Plato the philosopher. Born in 103, he came to the Faith of Christ when he was already a mature man, seeking to find God through philosophy and human reasoning. A venerable elder appeared to him and spoke to him about the Prophets who had taught of God not through their own wisdom, but by revelation; and he led him to knowledge of Christ, Who is the fulfillment of what the Prophets taught. In the ensuing conversation he revealed to Justin the essential nature of the Christian teaching and advised him to seek the answers to all the questions of life in the books of Holy Scripture. “But before anything else,” said the holy Elder, “pray diligently to God, so that He might open to you the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless he is granted understanding from God Himself, Who reveals it to each one who seeks Him in prayer and in love.”

Saint Justin soon became a fervent follower of Christ, and an illustrious apologist of the Evangelical teachings. To the end of his life, while preaching Christ in all parts, he never put off his philosopher’s garb. He wrote, “Whosoever is able to proclaim Truth and does not proclaim it will be condemned by God.” In Rome, he gave the Emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138-161) an apology wherein he proved the innocence and holiness of the Christian Faith, persuading him to relieve the persecution of Christians. Through the machinations of Crescens, a Cynic philosopher who envied him, Saint Justin was beheaded in Rome in 167 under Antoninus’s successor, Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180). Besides his defense of Christianity (First and Second Apologies), Saint Justin wrote against paganism (Discourse to the Greeks, Hortatory Address to the Greeks), and refuted Jewish objections against Christ (Dialogue with Trypho).

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