Concordius of Spoleto (c. 178) - “I am a Christian and confess Jesus Christ”
You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:9-10
Early Roman Christians found themselves living in a hostile and pagan society that tested their faith to the utmost. As a sub-deacon in Umbria, Concordius was captured during the organised persecution under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Taken in front of the governor Torquatus at Spoleto (in present-day Italy) he was pressured to renounce his faith. He replied, “I have already told you, I am a Christian and confess Jesus Christ”. This led to a harsh beating and torture, yet still he remembered his Saviour by singing “Glory be to thee, Lord Jesus!”
After three days imprisonment, two soldiers brought a statue of the god Jupiter for Concordius to worship. Instead of doing this, the sub-deacon spat on the idol – an act that saw him beheaded immediately in his prison cell.
Oh! for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from its throne
And worship only thee.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
William Cowper (1731-1800)
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing