Martyr Monday: Romanus / Turkey / 285 A.D.

The Roman prefect Asclepiades invaded the city of Antioch, intending to force the Christians to renounce their faith. But Romanus had encouraged the Christians to hold to Jesus.

As the believers saw the great grace of God working in Romanus, old men and women, fathers and mothers, young men and maidens were greatly encouraged to stand firm, ready to shed their blood for the name of their Christ. With one will and mind, they were able to fight off the armed Roman soldiers.

Ascledpiades had Romanus scourged with whips. But instead of tears, sighs, and groans, Romanus sang psalms all the time of his whipping. The more the martyr said about the Lord Jesus, the more furious the prefect became. He commanded the martyr’s sides to be slit with knives until the bones showed white.

Romanus continued to preach the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, His well-beloved Son, and eternal life through faith in His blood. This time, the prefect ordered that his teeth be knocked out, so he couldn’t speak clearly. His face was beat, his beard pulled out, his cheeks were gashed with knives. When they were finished, Romanus said, “I thank thee, O Prefect. Look how many wounds I have, so many mouths I have whereby I may preach my Lord and Savior Christ, and praise God.”

The Roman prefect was astonished with Romanus’ unwavering commitment to Christ. He commanded the tortures to cease. He threatened to burn him. He blasphemed God saying, “Your crucified Christ is but a yesterday’s God; the gods of the Gentiles are most ancient.”

Romanus then preached on the eternity of Christ, His human nature, of His death for all mankind. Then he said, “Give me a child, O Prefect, one who is only seven years old, and not yet spoiled by malice and vice. You will hear what he has to say.”

A little boy was called out of the crowd. “Tell me, child,” said the martyr, “whether we should worship one Christ, and in Christ one Father, or should we worship many gods?”

“God is one and unique, ” the child answered. “We children cannot believe that there are many gods.”

The prefect was amazed and said, “Where did you learn this lesson?”

“From my mother,” answered the child. “With her milk I sucked in this lesson, that I must believe in Christ.”

The mother was called, and she gladly appeared. The prefect commanded the child to be whipped. The crowd of people watching could not keep from crying. The mother alone stooddry-eyed, reminding her child of stories from the Scriptures of others who suffered. She called to her son, “Hold fast, my child. Soon you shall pass to Him who will give you a crown of eternal glory.”

The mother smiled her encouragement. The child was encouraged and received the stripes with a smiling face.

The prefect commanded the child’s head to be cut off. The mother kissed him, saying, “Farewell, my sweet child. When you have entered the kingdom of Christ, remember your mother.”

As the sword came down on her child’s neck, she sang:

“All laud and praise with heart and voice,

O Lord, we yield to thee:

To whom the death of this thy saint,

We know most dear to be.”

Asclepiades returned to torturing Romanus. He was cast into a mighty fire, but a great storm arose and quenched the fire. Finally, the prefect, amazed at Romanus’ courage, commanded him to be brought back into the prison and strangled.

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Story from Fox’s book of martyrs.