Justin (d. ca. 165) martyr
Around the year 165 Justin, remembered in the early Church as "the Philosopher," was martyred together with six companions under the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
A native of Flavia Neapolis (ancient Sichem), Justin came from a pagan family. He received a good education in the Hellenistic environment of his time, and looked for the answers to his deepest existential questions by following one philosophical school after another, without finding the peace he desired.
Justin's life began to change when he discovered the writings of the Old Testament, probably in the form of interpretations given by the Jewish scholars of his time. His acquaintance with the Hebrew Scriptures led him to discover Christianity, probably at Ephesus. He was strongly influenced in his decision to become a Christian by the testimony of all those who had been willing to give their lives for Christ as martyrs.
At Ephesus Justin decided to put on a philosopher's pallium and to begin a ministry of itinerant preaching of what was now for him "the true philosophy." During the reign of Antoninus Pius he moved to Rome, where he founded a school to help make Christianity known.
Justin is remembered for the passionate and articulate way he defended Christian faith against its opponents' accusations. This did not prevent him from recognizing the seeds of the Word present beyond the confines of the visible Church, and he was able to show that the newness of Christianity was rooted in the wisdom of the pagan philosophers and of Israel's prophets.
Justin was martyred at an unknown site for refusing to offer sacrifice to the gods. By the time of his death he had reached, at the cost of many trials, the serenity that had been the goal all of his philosophical searching.
1 Macc 2:15-22; 1 Cor 1:18-25; Jn 15:18-21
THE CHURCHES REMEMBER...
Justin, martyr at Rome
Justin, martyr (Roman and Ambrosian calendar)
Eulogius, bishop, and Leocritia of Cordova, virgin, martyrs (Spanish-Mozarabic calendar)
COPTS AND ETHIOPIANS (24 basans/genbot):
The Entry of Christ in Egypt (Coptic Church)
Justin, martyr at Rome
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS AND GREEK CATHOLICS:
Justin the Philosopher and companions, martyrs
Demetrius Donskoj (d. 1389), prince of Moscow (Russian Church)
Onofrius of Kursk (d. 1938) and the new martyr of the Slobodskaja Ukraina (Ukrainian Church)