St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Though born in Judea around 100AD, Justin was a pagan or gentile, whose family had settled in Nablus (Flavia Neapolis), one of many gentile settlements established in Palestine after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD. The young Justin studied the ancient pagan philosophers, but was unsatisfied with their view of man and the world. After an encounter with an old Syrian Christian who presented Jesus Christ, foretold by the Hebrew prophets, as the answer to the questions explored but left unanswered by the philosophers, Justin became a Christian. He donned the habit of a philosopher and became an apologist for the Christian faith. An apologist is one who makes the case for Christianity the basis of rational argument; and he defends the faith against all objections made against it by unbelievers. Though much of Justin’s written work is lost, we have several major works, including most notably his First & Second Apologies addressed to the pagans or gentiles, and his Dialogue with Trypho addressed to a Jewish rabbi. Justin established a school of Christian philosophy in Rome;  and he was martyred for his faith, along with several of his students, in 165AD. When the Roman prefect threatened Justin and his companions with torture & death, he replied: “That is our desire, to be tortured
for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour.” 

Along with the other tenets of the faith, Justin defended the Resurrection of Christ and of the body in general (in which he placed his own hope as he gave his life for the Name of Christ), based in part on the natural philosophy of the time; and he devoted one of his brief, fragmentary works to the subject. In one of his major works, The First Apology Justin wrote: “We expect to receive our own bodies again, even though they be dead and buried in the earth…. Because you have never seen a dead person rise, you disbelieve. But just as in the beginning you would not have believed that from a little drop such persons might be produced, and yet you see them so produced, and so now in the same way realize that it is not impossible for human bodies, after they have been resolved and, like seeds, dissolved into the earth, to rise again in God’s appointed time and put on incorruption.”(Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 18; see 1 Corinthians 15:35-57)