The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church

Nov 29, 2018 / Written by: America Needs Fatima

Feast June 30

In July of the year 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by a fire that lasted for nine days. Rumor blamed the tragedy on the Emperor Nero, who was said to have set flame to the grand city.

On the third day of the fire, dressed in theatrical costume and singing with his lyre, he surveyed the flaming ruins (“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is the often-used phrase).

More and more people began to blame Nero for the desolation. Alarmed, the emperor shifted the blame to the Christians, and had them seized and tortured to death in public. Some were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified and others were fed to wild animals.

Roman Martyrs being fed to lions
Roman Martyrs being fed to lions in the Roman Colosseum

Though the Romans were hardened to cruelty by the display of the gladiator’s arena, the brutality toward the Christians caused horror and pity in many of those who witnessed the scenes.

According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death even though no one believed them to be guilty.