Monthly Archives: January 2013

20120114 Rights of Church Upheld 捍衛教會神權

The Middle Ages was the period of European history from the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 to the invasion of Italy by the French in 1494.
Charlemagne or “Charles the Great” was King of all Franks. Charlemagne protected Pope St. Leo III and rescued him from his enemies.
Charlemagne was crowned on Christmas Day, 800, by Leo III. It was the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. Though a soldier, Charlemagne’s interested was not only in war. He encouraged his people to become successful farmers; he was also a patron of learning and of arts.
Lay investiture
After the death of Charlemagne, the empire was governed by weak men and was divided. The raids by invaders such as the Vikings and the Saracens with no central authority to protect the people gave rise to the feudal system.
In the feudal system, common villagers would pay the landowner in labor or services in return for the landowner’s military protection against foreign or domestic enemies.
Some princes and kings, using their feudal authority, interfered with the appointment of bishops and abbots. “Lay investiture” is the appointment of bishops and abbots by secular rulers, often in exchange for temporal protection. This practice opened to the door of unworthy and worldly men being appointed to Church positions.
From the death of Pope Stephen IV in 817 to the accession of Pope Gregory VII in 1073, there was a dark period for the papacy. Aside from Pope St. Nicholas I (858-867), the popes of this period were either too weak or too corrupt to resist the emperor and the nobles. As a result of rival factions seeking control of the papacy, weak and unworthy men were often placed on the throne of St. Peter, and many of the popes were assassinated only after serving for a handful of days or months.
Gregorian Reform
Hildebrand (the future Gregory VII) was a monk. He carried out important tasks for different popes. In 1073, at the age of 53, he became Pope Gregory VII, and was the key figure in the “Gregorian Reform”—a seventy-five year struggle to recover the church her essential freedom in papal elections and appointments of Church offices.
Upon taking office, Gregory VII declared war on the three great evils of lay investiture, simony and concubinage. Emperor Henry IV opposed to the reform of Gregory VII against lay investiture.
Gregory excommunicated Henry and declared that his subjects no longer owed him obedience. It was the first time that an emperor was deposed by the pope. Henry came to Canossa to beg the pope for pardon. The pope granted him absolution.
However, Henry did not persevere and kept defying the laws of the Church. Gregory excommunicated him again in 1080. In 1084 Henry took Rome, and the aged pontiff was obliged to flee. On May 25, 1085, Pope Gregory VII died in exile. As he was dying, he said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”
About forty years later, the Concordat of Worms was called in 1122 under Pope Calixtus II and King Henry V to settle the matter of lay investiture. This first concordat in history established for all time Gregory VII’s principle that ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not derive from secular power.
Another hero during the struggle against lay investiture is St. Thomas Becket. At first he was a worldly and ambitious man, but with his episcopal ordination at forty-four, he was transformed.
Thomas Becket opposed Henry II’s attempt to gain control of the Church. In 1170 he was killed by the knights of the king at the foot of the altar. As he was dying, Thomas murmured, “I accept death for the name of Jesus and in defense of the Church.”

歐洲歷史從公元800年查理曼加冕起,至公元1494年法國入侵意大利,稱為「中世紀」時代。

查理曼亦即史稱查理大帝,他曾拯救了教宗聖良三世。公元800年聖誕日,教宗聖良三世把他加冕,成為神聖羅馬帝國的君王。

查理大帝雖是出身軍人,卻不熱衷打仗,反而關心農民,希望他們都能有豐盛的收成。他也大力支持了學術和藝術的發展。

俗權干預聖職

查理大帝駕崩後,繼承者均軟弱無能,日益分化,加上維京人和薩拉森人犯境,群雄無首,護民乏力;一般的農民,在此外憂內患情況下,為求得保生計,紛紛甘願依附不同的列強,成了他們的佃農。

有些皇族權貴,亦以軍力保護的權勢,干預教會晉立主教和院牧等職的神權,引致後來很多不稱職的神職人員,擅守教會的要職。

自教宗斯德望四世在公元817年死後,到公元1073年教宗國瑞七世開始,這段期間確實是教宗權力的黑暗期。除教宗聖尼閣一世(858-867) 外,當時在位的教宗,因軟弱或腐敗,無力與眾權貴抗衡;甚至因為不同的權貴角力,很多在位只有數月或數天的教宗被弒殺。

國瑞大革新

希德朋原是一位隱修士。他曾為多位教宗處理重要職務。在公元1073年五十三歲時,被推選為教宗,即教宗國瑞七世。他痛定思痛,進行鐵腕勵精圖治的革新,開始教廷七十五年撥亂反正的鬥爭,世稱國瑞大革新。教廷銳意取諦俗權干預聖權及聖職,當然遭到利益既得者的強烈反撲,但教宗國瑞七世無所懼怕:他把法國王帝亨利四世開除教藉,宣告民眾不用聽命於他。亨利四世大驚,親到嘉諾撒請罪,得教宗寬免。原來這是亨利四世緩兵之計,在穩固權力和兵力後,故態復萌。公元1080年,教宗國瑞七世再一次把亨利四世開除教藉。不過,亨利四世這次揮軍佔據羅馬,逼使年老的教宗逃亡公元1085年五月二十五日,教宗在放逐中離世,遺言:「因為我愛護正義,痛恨惡行,遂被流徙至死。」

約四十年後,公元1122年,教宗嘉禮二世與法國王帝亨利五世,簽署沃爾姆斯宗教協定,確立神權與俗權的分野,滿全了教宗聖國瑞七世的遺願,捍衛了教廷晉升牧職的神權。

另一名捍衛先烈是聖多默.貝克特大主教。他原是有俗世的野心,四十四歲時,被授予坎特伯里大主教牧職,全心轉化,努力對抗英皇亨利二世操控教會之心。公元1170年,亨利二世的武士們,把聖多默.貝克特刺殺,他死在祭台柱下。彌留時,他吐出心聲:「我因耶穌之名和捍衛教會而甘心接納死亡。」

20120107 Evangelizing nations 傳道眾邦

Fifty years before the birth of Christ, the Chinese Empire expelled the Huns, who turned to the West. The Huns conquered and scattered nations along the way. The scattered nations in turn conquered other nations.

In 475 the Roman Empire of the West fell before the invading nations. The entire Western world was composed of new nations. The leaders of the Church defended the people and strove to convert the invading barbarians.

In 452, as the Huns drew close to Rome, Pope Leo I went to meet Attila, the king of the Huns, and persuaded him not to invade Rome. Again in 455 Pope Leo went to meet Genseric, the leader of the Vandals, and convinced him to not burn Rome and to spare the lives of the people.

The Church sent missionaries to work among the new nations, and established churches and schools in the midst of the new people.

Even before the fall of the Roman Empire, St. Patrick (387-493) was already working tirelessly for the conversion of the Irish. He landed at Wicklow in 433, and laboured among the Irish for 60 years. On Easter Sunday in 433, St. Patrick preached to King Leoghaire and told him about heaven, a place more beautiful than the Irish lakes and hills. St. Patrick showed the people a shamrock: one stem with three leaves, and explained the mystery of the Trinity. St. Patrick built up a native clergy and established monasteries. Later, missionaries were sent forth from these monasteries to different parts of Europe to evangelize and to establish new monasteries and schools.

Among the English, St. Gregory the Great (540-604) became a Benedictine monk at the age of 34 and became Pope in 590. He selected 40 Benedictine monks and placed them under the leadership of a monk named Augustine, who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Within 50 years of the coming of the missionaries, the English had become Catholics.

Among the French, King Clovis was influenced by his Christian wife St. Clotilda, because in the battle with the Allemanni, Clovis had called on the God of Clotilda and had gained victory. Clovis was baptized by St. Remigius in 496. The conversion and victory of Clovis made France a united Catholic kingdom.

The monks from what is now Ireland, England, and Scotland evangelized the pagan tribes of central Europe in what is now Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The middle and northern parts of Germany were converted by St. Boniface. The Germans were great lovers of nature and practised nature worship. They held a great oak tree as sacred and called it the Tree of Thor. St. Boniface cut down the oak tree with an ax and out of it built the first Christian church. When nothing happened to St. Boniface, the faith of the pagans in Thor was shaken, and many people were converted to the Catholic faith.

St. Ansgar (died 865), a Benedictine monk from the Abbey of Corbie, evangelized Denmark and Sweden and baptized the King of Denmark in 826. He was the first Archbishop in Hamburg and Bremen and was the papal legate for the Scandinavian missions. St. Cyril (+869) and St. Methodius (+885) were brothers. In 863 they were sent as missionaries among the Slavs. St. Cyril became a monk in Rome and died there. St. Methodius was made Archbishop of the Slavs and received permission to use the Slavonic language in the liturgy. Both Sts. Cyril and Methodius translated the Gospels into Slavonic.

“The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love” (Pope John Paul II).

耶穌降生前五十年,中國漢帝驅逐匈奴,匈奴轉往西征,所向披靡,粉碎了歐洲諸國。那些國的國民又轉移粉碎其他的國。公元475年,西羅馬帝國瓦解,分裂諸地,紛紛自立為國;與此同時,聖教會一方面努力保護各民,另方面努力嘗試向入侵的外族,傳揚福音,使他們皈化。

公元452年,當匈奴大軍迫近羅馬,教宗聖良一世親入敵方,與匈奴王阿提拉會面,成功說服阿提拉無條件撤軍。公元455年,教宗聖良一世又成功說服萬達王,打消粉碎羅馬城的念頭,避免生靈塗炭。

由於很多新邦國的獨立,聖教會積極派遣傳教士到各處,既要傳揚福音,又建立聖堂、設立學校,服務新立國的人民。

早在羅馬帝國瓦解之前,公元433年,聖巴特利爵(387-493)登陸愛爾蘭,展開他六十年艱苦傳教之旅。433年復活節當天,聖巴特利爵向勞格耳王宣道,告訴他天堂比他那湖光山色的國土更美;聖巴特利爵又利用一片三葉草向愛爾蘭人,譬喻天主三位一體的奧秘。聖巴特利爵建立本地的神職班,又建立隱修院。後來,傳教士由這些隱修院出發,到愛爾蘭以外的歐洲各地,建立更多的修院和學校,廣傳福音!

教宗聖額我略一世(540-604)在三十五歲時,成了本篤會會士,公元590年當選教宗。他挑選了四十名本篤會會士,由聖奧斯定(稍後成了英國坎達伯理總主教)帶領,到英國傳教;五十年內,英國成為天主教國家。

法國克羅維斯國王,娶信奉天主教的克羅蒂達為妻。一次與敵軍交鋒時,克羅維斯國王向「克羅蒂達的天主」呼求,結果獲得勝利。公元496年,克羅維斯國王從聖雷米奇墨手中領受聖洗聖事,法國於是成了天主教國家。

從愛爾蘭、英國及蘇格蘭隱修院出發的傳教士,滲入異教的國土,包括今日的比利時,荷蘭、德國、奧地利和瑞士。中部和北部的德國日以曼民族,經聖博義的傳道而皈化:當時的日以曼民族,崇拜大自然生物,聖博義親自砍下他們的「神聖橡樹」,將木頭建成聖堂,而聖博義居然未受「神樹」懲罰,使到很多人驚訝,甘心皈依聖教。

聖安斯卡(+865)是來自榷比大修院的本篤會會士,他到丹麥和瑞典傳教,並在公元826年給丹麥國王付洗。聖安斯卡曾任漢堡及伯汶的總主教,且是北歐區的宗座代表。

聖啟祿(+869)和聖默道(+885)是兄弟,在公元863年期間,同被派到斯拉夫傳教,他們創造了斯拉夫的字母,用斯拉夫文翻譯了福音。聖啟祿在羅馬隱修和離世;聖默道成了斯拉夫總主教,後被授權在禮儀中使用斯拉夫文。

真福教宗若望保祿二世言道:「傳教最終目的無他,只為讓眾人能分享聖父和聖子在聖神的愛中的共融。」

20121231 Conquering paganism 基督聖教征服異教

Constantine the Great became Roman Emperor after the battle of the Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Before the battle, Constantine saw a cross on the sky with the words: “In this sign you shall conquer”. In 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which allowed religion freedom, abolished all laws against Christianity, entitled the Church to own properties, and made Sunday a day of rest.
Christianity attracted all people by the truth of its doctrine, the purity of its morals, and the beauty of its ceremonies. It eventually became the chief religion of the Roman Empire. In 391 Emperor Theodosius I declared Christianity the official religion of the Empire. Christianity, the religion of faith, hope, and love conquered paganism, a religion of doubt, despair, and hatred.
Teachings defined
After winning her freedom, the Catholic Church had to combat internal conflicts of heresies. The chief heresies from the fourth to the eighth centuries were Arianism (denied the divinity of Christ), Macedonianism (denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit), Pelagianism (denied original sin and the necessity of grace), Nestorianism (taught the existence of two persons in Christ and denied Mary as Mother of God), Monophysites (denied the humanity of Christ), Monothelites (taught that Christ has only one will), and Iconoclasts (attacked the veneration of holy images).
The struggles with heresies caused Church to define her teachings through ecumenical councils. The Council of Nicaea (325) drew up a profession of faith—the Nicene Creed—- proclaiming Jesus Christ as true God and true man. The Council of Constantinople (381) affirmed the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Council of Ephesus (431) defined the true personal unity of Christ and declared Mary the Mother of God. Under Pope Leo I, the Council of Chalcedon (451) defined the two natures (Divine and human) in Christ. The Second Council of Constantinople (553) confirmed the decisions of the first four ecumenical councils. The Third Council of Constantinople (680-681) defined the two wills in Christ, the Divine and the human, as two distinct principles of operation. The Second Council of Nicaea (787) regulated the veneration of holy images.
Shining witnesses
The chief opponents of heresies were the Fathers of the Church. The most noteworthy among the Greek Fathers are St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzum, and St. John Chrysostom. Among the Latin Fathers are St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great.
While the Fathers of the Church acted as defenders of the true Faith, the hermits and monks shone as models of penance. The hermits were pious Christians who fled from the seductive pleasures of the world, to prepare themselves in solitude, by prayer and self-denial, for a happy death. St. Paul of Thebes (+340) was the first hermit who had fled a persecution under Emperor Decius (249-251). St. Anthony (+356) built the first monastery, and was called the Patriarch of Monks. After the death of St. Anthony, one of his disciples, St. Athanasius, wrote his life. The biography of St. Anthony projected the ascetic ideal and peopled the desert with monks. Through St. Anthony, the solitary life gave rise to the monastic life.
There were two kinds of monastic life: the eremitical or hermit life and the cenobitical or common life. St. Anthony and his disciples formed a community of eremitical life: they lived on their own and came together mainly to partake in the Sunday liturgy. St. Pachomius (+345) was one of the principal founders of cenobitic monasticism. The monks lived in community, kept scheduled times of prayer together, and took weekly turns at various tasks. The cenobitic form of monasticism was perpetuated in the East by St. Basil (+379), and in the West by St. Benedict (+547).
公元312年十月二十八日,羅馬君士坦丁大帝在一場以寡敵眾的戰爭前,忽然他看見天空出現一個十字架,旁邊寫著「以此標記,你當戰勝!」果然,米蘭橋一役,君士坦丁獲得全勝;於是,他馬上頒佈「米蘭法令」,廢除對天主教禁教的一切法律及規條,容許天主教自由傳教、擁有物業權,並切定星期日為全民休息日。
基督聖教的真道、高尚的操守和入勝的禮儀,吸引眾多人民皈依,轉眼成了羅馬帝國的主流宗教信仰。公元391年,在皇帝提奧杜塞一世宣佈下,基督聖教成了這幅原廣大的帝國的國教。基督聖教的信、望、愛德,征服了異教的猜忌、絕望和仇恨。
澄清訓導
獲得自由的天主教,不久要面對內部而來的異端。公元四世紀至八世紀,教會內出現一些異端:「亞略主義」(否定基督的天主性)、「馬奇道主義」(否定聖神的天主性)、「白拉奇學說」(否認原罪及聖寵的重要)、「聶斯多略派(景教)」(主張基督有兩位格及兩性體,瑪利亞只是基督人性的母親,而非天主之母)、「基督單性說」(否定基督的人性)、「基督單一意志說」(主張基督只有一個意志,否認基督兼有神、人兩意志),和「反對聖像派」(宣稱供奉聖像不合教會精神)。這連串的內鬨異端,使聖教會召開幾次大公會議,以澄清和釐定當信教義。
公元325年,尼西亞大公會議,擬定「尼西亞信經」,宣認耶穌基督是真天主亦真人。公元381年,君士坦丁堡大公會議,確認聖神的天主性。公元431年,厄弗所大公會議,定明基督只有一位格,遂公認瑪利亞是天主之母。公元451年,加采東大公會議,教宗聖良一世聲明,基督是神人兩性一位。公元553年,第二次君士坦丁堡大公會議,重新確認和確立先前四次大公會議頒佈的當信道理。公元680-681年,第三次君士坦丁堡大公會議,譴責「一意志」論,聲明基督神人兩性、兩志,清淅兼備。公元787年,第二次尼西亞大公會議,規定要尊敬聖像。
聖賢皓光
早期聖教會教父們,斥異衛道不遺餘力,為人樂道推崇的,有東方禮儀的聖師亞大納削、聖師巴西略、聖額我略納齊盎和聖若望金口。拉丁禮儀的有聖師盎博羅削、聖師奧斯定、聖師熱羅尼莫和教宗聖額我略一世。
同一時期,教會有很多棄俗潛修、克己行苦的聖賢,樹立祈禱修德、棄絕自我、獨隱避世,以求善終的表樣。當中首先獨修聖保祿 (公元+340年),為逃避羅馬皇帝戴西于迫害聖教,跑到曠野獨居隱修。與前者惺惺相惜的,是聖安當(公元+356年),他修建了第一座隱修院,被譽為「隱修士的祖宗」,而他的弟子聖亞大納削記下他的生平,昭示了在曠野的苦行靜修的實況,彰顯了獨居隱修的隱士生活。
其實,隱修生活有兩種:獨居及群居。聖安當偕同他的弟子,都是獨居隱修,只在主日聖儀才聚在一起。聖巴各滿(公元+345年)則成立群居的隱修團體,修士們共同一起生活,在特定時間集體祈禱,並共同分擔院務;群居的隱修制度,在東方禮儀的聖教中,被聖巴西略(公元+379年)推廣,在拉丁禮儀的聖教中,被聖本篤(公元+547年)推廣。

20121217 Martyrs held firm to Faith 殉道者堅守信德

After the resurrection and ascension of Our Lord, the Roman Empire persecuted the Church for 300 years. There were ten official persecutions by the following Roman emperors: Nero (64-68), Domitian (94-96), Trajan (98-117), Marcus Aurelius (166-180), Septimius Severus (202-211), Maximinus Thrax (235-238), Decius (249-251), Valerian (247-259), Aurelian (270-275), and Diocletian (284-305).
The Romans considered the state divine and the emperor was looked upon as a god. The Christians did not accept these teachings, and thus embracing Christianity was regarded as treason. With ignorance, hatred and mob spirit, the pagans falsely accused Christians of immorality and of killing children in sacrifice. When problems arose in society, the pagans would blame the Christians, saying that the gods were angry because the Christians refused to worship them.
It was during the persecution under Nero that St. Peter and St. Paul martyred in Rome. Peter was crucified and was buried at the foot of Vatican Hill. St. Paul was beheaded. Nero set Rome afire and blamed the Christians for it. He killed the Christians by the thousands with great cruelty.
Under Domitian, St. John of apostle was plunged into a caldron of boiling oil but miraculously escaped. He was then banished to the island of Patmos, where he received divine revelations and wrote the Book of Revelation.
Pope St. Clement was martyred under Trajan. St. Ignatius of Antioch was devoured by lions in the Roman amphitheater around 110. While he was on his way to martyrdom at Rome, Ignatius wrote seven beautiful epistles to various churches.
According to legend, St. Cecilia suffered under Marcus Aurelius. Cecilia made a vow of virginity. Her parents arranged a marriage for her. Cecilia converted her husband Valerian to the Faith and they agreed to live in continence. Cecilia was condemned to be suffocated by steam, but was miraculously preserved. She was then killed with the sword.
During the reign of Septimius Severus, five catechumens (including Sts. Perpetua and Felicity) were arrested at Carthage. St. Saturus, their teacher, voluntarily joined them in prison. The catechumens were baptized in prison. They were martyred at the Arena.
Popes Pontian and Anterus suffered martyrdom under Maximus Thrax. The pagans blamed the Christians for repeated earthquakes and cried: “The Christians to the lions!”
For fifty years after Septimius Severus, the Christians were left more or less at peace. Due to unrest and discontent throughout the Empire, the emperor was occupied with other concerns. The Christians were allowed to own properties and to build churches. However, some Christians also became worldly and less fervent and their faith was weakened. Hence, during the persecution under Decius many Christians were wanting in courage. Some offered sacrifices to pagan gods and others, through bribery or political influence, obtained certificates saying they had done so. After the persecution, the Church received the apostates back into the fold, but also imposed severe penance on them.
Before the reign of Decius, persecutions were only limited to certain provinces. But under Decius there was general and systematic persecution against the Christians. Decius targeted especially the bishops and priests of the Church. St. Agatha was martyred under Decius.
Pope Sixtus II and his deacon, St. Lawrence, suffered martyrdom under Valerian. The persecution under Aurelian did not last long, for the emperor soon met a violent death.
The persecution under Diocletian was the most violent. Some of the martyrs under this persecution are best known to us: St. Sebastian, the Roman soldier whose body was shot with arrows but who survived and was killed by the sword; St. Tarcisius, the acolyte who died defending the Blessed Sacrament; St. Lucy, St. Agnes, and many others were martyred who had consecrated their virginity to Christ.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”— Tertullian

耶穌升天後,羅馬帝國迫害了聖教會三百年。十個皇帝發動了十次官方的迫害: 尼祿(64-68)、多米提安(94-96)、圖拉真(98-117)、馬可.奧勒留(166-180)、西弗勒斯(202-211)、馬克西勉.朱肋斯(235-238)、德西烏斯(249-251)、維利安(247-259)、奧留利安(270-275)和戴克里先(284-305)。
羅馬人視國家為神聖的,更奉承皇帝為神明,但基督徒並不以此為然,遂被視作叛國。羅馬人對基督宗教的一知半解,又懷着仇恨,肆意誣蔑基督徒,說他們越軌生活,把兒童祭神;每當發生事故,都責難到基督徒的身上,稱因為他們對神明的不敬,致所有人都遭受天遣。
聖伯多祿和聖保祿,均在尼祿皇帝統治下殉道 —— 聖伯多祿被反倒釘死在十字架上,死後葬在梵蒂崗崗下;聖保祿則被斬首致命。尼祿縱火燒毀羅馬,竟嫁禍基督徒,他把數以千計的基督徒,殘酷地處死。
多米提安皇帝在位時,聖若望被投到沸油鍋中,卻奇蹟地絲毫無損,後來被放逐到帕特摩島,他在那裡得到啟示,寫下「默示錄」。
教宗聖克勉在圖拉真皇帝時捨生,聖安底約.納爵在公元110年,被投進羅馬競技場餓獅群中,當他被押赴義時,給各地教會,遺下七封言詞美麗的牧函。
傳統認定聖則濟利亞是在馬可.奧勒留皇帝執政時殉道:聖女則濟利亞向天主發了守貞願,但被配婚給另一貴族;她卻把新郎感化成基督徒,同渡守貞生活。聖女曾被當局嘗以熱蒸氣烘死,不果,終被斬首致命。
在西弗勒斯皇帝統治下,有五位慕道者(包括聖伯爾伯都亞及聖斐理謙)遭到逮捕,解送卡地卓,聖撒多寧作為他們的導師,甘願與他們一起受囚禁,且在獄中給他們付洗。結果,一夥人同在競技場為信德而致命。
馬克西勉.朱肋斯皇帝在位時,聖秉天和聖安祿兩位教宗,先後致命。當時,發生多次地震,羅馬異教徒指責基督徒的拖累,大喊「把基督徒投到餓獅群去!」。
西弗勒斯死後約五十年的光景,羅馬帝國經歷外患,無暇理會國內基督徒,使到教會稍有喘息的機會,甚至基督徒可以擁有物業,並興建聖堂。但有些基督徒變得世俗化,信仰薄弱;因此,德西烏斯皇帝迫害教會時,不少基督徒就範背教,敬拜邪神;另有些基督徒則賄賂官員,得到敬拜邪神的証書。教難過後,教會重新接納背教的人,亦要他們嚴做補贖。
德西烏斯皇帝統治前,教難集中於數個羅馬省份,但德西烏斯卻大規模和有計劃地迫害基督徒,並特別針對教會的主教和神父。聖女亞加大亦於此時殉道。
維利安皇帝時,教宗聖思道二世和他的執事聖老楞佐,雙雙致命。奧留利安皇帝迫害教會時間不長,因為他不久便慘死。
戴克里先皇帝對教會的迫害,最為殘酷熾烈。是時箸名的致命烈士有聖巴斯弟盎,他原是羅馬士兵,但因基督徒身分而被亂箭射傷,終被刺死;聖泰西修是送聖體員,為保衛聖體而被棍棒活活打死。聖路濟亞、聖依搦斯和很多童貞聖女都為主捨生。
特道納名言:「殉道者的血是教會的種子。」