The Slave Girl of Lyons
162 – 177 A.D.
She was one of the forty-eight martyrs of Lyons who perished during the terrible religious persecution under the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
In the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius (260 – 339 A.D.) is given a letter which records the sufferings of the Christians at Lyons. First they were excluded from houses, baths, and market places, so that nothing belonging to them could appear in public. they bore all patiently, “Esteeming what was deemed great but little, they hastened to Christ, showing in reality that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. And first they nobly sustained all the evils that were heaped upon them by the populace; clamors and blows; plundering and robberies, stonings and imprisonments, and whatsoever a savage people delight to inflict upon enemies.”
Pagan slaves, fearing lest they should be included in the persecutions, sought to protect themselves by charging their Christian masters with gross crimes. The pagan populous and magistrates fell upon the Christians and dragged them to death. Among them was Blandina, herself a poor slave girl, but a Christian who honored her sex and religion by her constancy and courage.
The ancient letter from the Church in Lyons has this to say: “While we were all trembling, and her earthly mistress, who was herself one of the contending martyrs, was apprehensive, lest through the weakness of the flesh, she should not be able to make bold confession. Blandina was filled with such power, that her ingenious tormentors, who relieved and succeeded each other from morning till night, confessed that they were overcome and had nothing more to inflict upon her. They were amazed that she continued to breathe after her whole body was pierced and torn asunder. In the midst of her sufferings, as she for a moment revived, she repeatedly exclaimed, ‘I am a Christian; no wickedness is carried on by us!'”
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.