Some records indicate that Emperor Severus was kind towards Christians, and others present him as a persecutor. Tertullian for example writes about Severus employing a Christian as his personal physician. However, during his reign many persecutions occurred which historians like Eusebius have attributed to him.
Among the Christians killed during this time was the renowned teacher of the Word and preacher against heresy – Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum (this place is situated in France and is now called Lyon). Irenaeus originated from Smyrna (the place is now called Izmir in Turkey). He was mainly influenced by ministry of Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple of apostle John, scribe of the book of Revelation. Irenaeus wrote the famous work, Against Heresies, in which he taught against heretical teachings of Gnosticism. He admonishes a believer to base his faith on Scripture and traditions of the apostles and their successors. Irenaeus’ ‘war’ against heretics made him noticeable before roman authorities. In 202 AD he was beheaded.
Another account of martyrdom that brings sorrow to the heart occurred in Africa. It involved some Christian women – Perpetia, Felicitus, Revocatus, Saturninus, Secundulus, and Satur.
Saturninus, Revocatus, and Satur were made to run between two rolls of armed men. They were severely injured as they passed.
Felicitus was heavy with child (she was pregnant). Together with Perpetua they were stripped naked and then thrown to a mad bull. The bull first attached Perpetua. She lay unconscious dying. It then darted at Felicitus and gored her dreadfully. The executioner then used his sword to kill the two Christian women. All this happened on 8th March, 205 AD.
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