In trying times, we all need a little dose of hope. Imagine living in ancient times when Christians really needed hope. They were slaughtered for the mere “sin” of being Christians by ancient and evil pagans. Imagine being one of those slaughtered Christians who stood up for Christ no matter the gory levels of abuse heaped on them. Men and women were burned, crucified, tortured, and beheaded under numerous Roman Emperors in the first few hundred years of Christianity, prior to its legalization in 313 A.D. by Constantine. The 4th century church father Eusebius recounts the amazing story of a brave woman called Potamiæna in chapter 5 of book 6 of his Church History (from New Advent:https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250106.htm ).
Chapter 5. Potamiæna.
“1. Basilides may be counted the seventh of these. He led to martyrdom the celebrated Potamiæna, who is still famous among the people of the country for the many things which she endured for the preservation of her chastity and virginity. For she was blooming in the perfection of her mind and her physical graces. Having suffered much for the faith of Christ, finally after tortures dreadful and terrible to speak of, she with her mother, Marcella, was put to death by fire.
2. They say that the judge, Aquila by name, having inflicted severe tortures upon her entire body, at last threatened to hand her over to the gladiators for bodily abuse. After a little consideration, being asked for her decision, she made a reply which was regarded as impious.
3. Thereupon she received sentence immediately, and Basilides, one of the officers of the army, led her to death. But as the people attempted to annoy and insult her with abusive words, he drove back her insulters, showing her much pity and kindness. And perceiving the man’s sympathy for her, she exhorted him to be of good courage, for she would supplicate her Lord for him after her departure, and he would soon receive a reward for the kindness he had shown her.
4. Having said this, she nobly sustained the issue, burning pitch being poured little by little, over various parts of her body, from the sole of her feet to the crown of her head. Such was the conflict endured by this famous maiden.
5. Not long after this Basilides, being asked by his fellow-soldiers to swear for a certain reason, declared that it was not lawful for him to swear at all, for he was a Christian, and he confessed this openly. At first they thought that he was jesting, but when he continued to affirm it, he was led to the judge, and, acknowledging his conviction before him, he was imprisoned. But the brethren in God coming to him and inquiring the reason of this sudden and remarkable resolution, he is reported to have said that Potamiæna, for three days after her martyrdom, stood beside him by night and placed a crown on his head and said that she had besought the Lord for him and had obtained what she asked, and that soon she would take him with her.
6. Thereupon the brethren gave him the seal of the Lord; and on the next day, after giving glorious testimony for the Lord, he was beheaded. And many others in Alexandria are recorded to have accepted speedily the word of Christ in those times.
7. For Potamiæna appeared to them in their dreams and exhorted them. But let this suffice in regard to this matter.”
SJ Thomason is a Christian apologist and business professor who works in a private university in the United States, teaching (primarily graduate) courses in leadership, business communication, human resource management, research, and cross-cultural relations. You can reach her at email@example.com.
2 Replies to “Got Hope? A Martyr, a Miracle, and a Christian Conversion (from Eusebius)”
Wow, such a great testimony!!! It makes you want to be more of an evangelist, spreading the truth of Christ as far and wide as possible! This kind of devotion makes me want to give tracts to everyone in my town! Jesus Christ is coming, and his rewards will be with him.
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