Martyrs and Almost Martyrs {31/31 Niches}

I was thinking about trying to tie my series neeatly in a bow and call it done today. But somehow that’s not thr point of this series either. We will continue to see new pieces of Christianity and God as long as people live. Such an interesting thing.

And I may or may not continue this series as an informal thing since it’s interesting.

But here’s my final contribution for this month: some interesting martyrs and almost martyrs to think about because that’s what All Hallow’s Eve used to be:

Telemachus, a Roman hermit, interfered between gladiators during a fight in the Colosseum and was killed. “He had died, but not in vain. His work was accomplished at the moment he was struck down, for the shock of such a death before their eyes turned the hearts of the people: they saw the hideous aspects of the favorite vice to which they had blindly surrendered themselves; and from the day Telemachus fell dead in the Colosseum, no other fight of gladiators was ever held there.” – (Fox’s Book of Martyr’s)

I found this particularly interesting so it’s a rather long quote:

“Galileo, the chief astronomer and mathematician of his age, was the first who used the telescope successfully in solving the movements of the heavenly bodies. He discovered that the sun is the center of motion around which the earth and various planets revolve. For making this great discovery Galileo was brought before the Inquisition, and for a while was in great danger of being put to death.
After a long and bitter review of Galileo’s writings, in which many of his most important discoveries were condemned as errors, the charge of the inquisitors went on to declare, “That you, Galileo, have upon account of those things which you have written and confessed, subjected yourself to a strong suspicion of heresy in this Holy Office, by believing, and holding to be true, a doctrine which is false, and contrary to the sacred and divine Scripture– viz., that the sun is the center of the orb of the earth, and does not move from the east to the west; and that the earth moves, and is not the center of the world.”
In order to save his life. Galileo admitted that he was wrong in thinking that the earth revolved around the sun, and swore that–“For the future, I will never more say, or assert, either by word or writing, anything that shall give occasion for a like suspicion.” But immediately after taking this forced oath he is said to have whispered to a friend standing near, “The earth moves, for all that.”” (Fox’s Book of Martyr’s)

John Huus, Czech Priest, 1415, Early reformer burned at the stake for heresy against the catholic churches doctrines of Ecclesiology and the Eucharist (

William Tyndale, known for his translation of the English, martyred for his opposition to teachings in the Catholic Church and the divorce of the king of England. 1536.

Anne Askew was tortured on the rack in the Tower of London because she would not recant or give the names of others. She was then later burned at the stake because of her protestant beliefs. 1546. ( and nuanced account of Phillis Wheatley’s work and life in her recent book: 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith. )

William Gardiner, burned for disrupting mass and attempting a reformation in the catholic church in Portugal. “It is observable that some of the sparks that were blown from the fire, (which consumed Gardiner) towards the haven, burnt one of the king’s ships of war, and did other considerable damage.” (

Roger Williams believed in complete religious freedom and that not paying Native Americans for their land was wrong. He was banished from the puritan colony in Salem as a result after which he bought land from the Narragansett and founded the colony of Rhode Island. 1636. (

Anne Hutchinson, a puritan woman, preached, claimed to hear from God, was banished, declared “deluded by the devil”, banished from the colony, moved to, and was later killed in a massacre, in New Amsterdam (York). 1643. ( and nuanced account of Phillis Wheatley’s work and life in her recent book: 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith. )

Also check out Denis the Martyr if you’re interested in a seemingly unbelievable story. It would make for a funny christian halloween costume.

What do you think of these people?

Do you think Galileo was right to recant?

How do you think God feels about our beliefs when they go against the grain of the culture?

To recant or not to recant, that is the question. Do you think God calls us all to die for all of our beliefs or is there a certain set that is more important than the others: such as Jesus is God and he saved the world vs the nature of communion or infant baptism? I guess it comes down to what hill we’d be willing to die on.

Anyway. That’s all my thoughts for now. I hope this series helped you to see in a different way. Thanks for reading!


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