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Martyrs of Christianity
History of the Martyrs
History tells of many battles for religious liberty in the Great Reformation and the Puritan movement. These battles brought about the religious freedoms we enjoy today. But the particulars of those battles, and the incredible sacrifice of thousands—perhaps millions—of men, women, and children, seem to have been forgotten. Too little do we study the lives of the heroes of faith. Their names are unknown to us, and their courage and constancy have little impact on our faith. Have we forgotten that we are debtors to their sacrifice? Can we safely ignore their faithful witness and still expect to stand firm in times of persecution?
Albigenses
The Albigenses were Protestants who lived in the country of Albi. They were condemned in the council of Lateran by order of Pope Alexander III, but their numbers grew so rapidly that many cities were inhabited exclusively by them, and they converted several important noblemen.
The Waldenses
In the 14th century, Pope Pius IV determined to exterminate the Waldenses from France. The Waldenses had built and formed themselves into two corporate towns, and had pleased the local nobles with their honesty and quiet industry. After some time, they sent to Geneva for two ministers, one for each town. Hearing of this, Pope Pius IV saw an opportunity to fulfill his plan. He sent a cardinal and two monks first to the town of St. Xist, and told the people that nothing would happen to them if they would accept the preachers appointed by the pope. If they refused, they would be deprived of their property and lives. They were to attend mass that very afternoon to show their willingness to comply.
Anne Askew
In March of 1545, Anne Askew, an educated lady of good descent, was arrested and brought to trial in England. She answered all her interrogator’s questions so astutely that he was astonished and silenced. After further interrogation from others, including her cousin, her faith remained unshaken. When asked about her faith and belief in regards to the sacrament, she replied, “I believe as the Scripture teaches me.
The Oguier Family
On the evening of March 6, 1556, French officials began a search of Protestants meeting illegally in houses. They came to the house of Robert Oguier, which was a little home church where both rich and poor were taught the Scriptures. After entering, they seized several books and arrested the husband, his wife, and their two sons, leaving their two daughters in the house.
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