Martyrdom and the Mass
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In the first three centuries of Christian history, the practice of the faith was a capital crime, and many gave their lives as the ultimate testimony. The Church called them “witnesses”—in Greek, martures, whence we get the English word martyr. To speak of martyrdom, the early Fathers employed language usually reserved only for the Eucharist. So what does martyrdom have to do with the Mass?
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Eucharist and Mission,” in Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion, pp. 112-120 https://ignatius.com/pilgrim-fellowship-of-faith-pffp/
Finbarr G. Clancy, “Imitating the Mysteries That You Celebrate: Martyrdom and Eucharist in the Early Patristic Period,” in Vincent Twomey, ed., The Great Persecution: The Proceedings of the Fifth Patristic Conference, Maynooth https://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/archives/the-great-persecution/
Robin Darling Young, In Procession before the World: Martyrdom as Public Liturgy in Early Christianity https://www.marquette.edu/mupress/Young.shtml
Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0107.htm
Anonymous, The Martyrdom of Polycarp https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0102.htm
Mike Aquilina’s website https://fathersofthechurch.com
Mike Aquilina’s books https://catholicbooksdirect.com/writer/mike-aquilina/
Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed http://www.ccwatershed.org
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