Anastasios (1655) - Renounced Forced Conversion
In all their distress he too was distressed. Isaiah 63:8
Anastasios, an artist in the city of Naupoin, Greece, was forcibly circumcised by a group of Muslims while suffering ill health. This procedure was seen as conversion to Islam by the Muslims, and upon recovery Anastasios decided to correct the situation as best he could. Openly declaring his Christianity, he was met with hostility and anger. Anastasios was now considered by the Muslims as an apostate, and apostosy is punishable by death under sharia. He was swiftly arrested but refused to recant his Christian faith. Anastasios was taken into the street, set upon by a group of frenzied attackers and hacked to pieces by their knives on 1 February 1655.
With a weak faith and a fearful heart, many a sinner stands before the Lord. It is not the strength of our faith, but the perfection of Christ’s sacrifice that saves! No feebleness of faith, nor dimness of eye, no trembling of hand can change the efficacy of Christ’s blood. The strength of our faith can add nothing to it, nor can the weakness of our faith take anything from Him. Faith (weak or strong) still reads the promise, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7b). If at times my eye is so dim that I cannot read these words, through blinding tears or bewildering trials, faith rests itself on the certain knowledge of the fact that the promise is there, and the blood of Christ remains in all its power and suitableness upon the altar, unchanged and unaffected.
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing