Wednesday, 20 January 2010
The blood of the martyrs
The 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian once wrote that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church, " implying that the martyrs' willing sacrifice of their lives led to the conversion of others. This can be verified by the modern example of Vladimir Lossky (June 8 1903 – February 7, 1958) who was an influential Eastern Orthodox theologian in exile from Russia. As a young student Vladimir Lossky attended the trial of one of the very first martyrs of the Russian Revolution, Metropolitan Benjamin of St Petersburg, now canonized. The young man was profoundly touched by the sight of the crowd of believers prostrating themselves as their bishop was led to his death by firing squad by the soviets. Catherine Aslanoff wrote: "this image of the church, the bishop and his people, united by the blood of the martyr, deeply moved the future theologian".