A painting of St. Bartholomew's martyrdom where skin was stripped from him.
Game of Thorns
Can you identify the martyr from the method of execution?
Christianity in Israel and surrounding areas was a persecuted religion under the Roman occupation. When Christians did not want to bow down to Roman gods, any misfortune was blamed on the Christians, thus they were sought out to be killed in sometimes very brutal manners.
Those who died in keeping the faith were seen as heroes, thus they were venerated as martyrs. The word means“witness" and aptly applies to them as they gave witness to the faith by giving their lives. Without these martyrs we might have seen wave after wave of apostasy – an abandonment of religious belief. But martyrs paved the way for the Church to grow; Tertullian said it best:“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Catholics believe that at the end of time – a term used to connote a time when we all will be judged according to our works – the body will resurrect and reunite itself with the soul. Since martyrs are saints, and the souls of the saints are already in heaven, the remains of these martyrs – relics, we call them – were also venerated for they are sure to end up in heaven. It is a practice still very much alive today.
We have compiled ten martyrs whose deaths were interesting because of the way they were executed. Can you name the martyr from the manner of execution?