A Christian Response to Oppression

Christ is risen!  Indeed He is risen! 

 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.  (Acts 12:1-5) 

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How should Christians respond to oppression and persecution, St Ignatius of Antioch says: 

 “Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God.  Give them a chance to learn from you, or, at all events, from the way you behave.  Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers.  But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin.  Let us show by our forbearance that we are brothers, and try to imitate the Lord by seeing which of us can put up with the most ill-usage or privation or contempt so that in this way none of the devil’s noxious weeds may take root among you, but that you rest in Jesus Christ in all sanctity and discipline of body and soul.”   (WHAT THE CHURCH FATHERS SAY ABOUT … vol 2, pp 54-55) 

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One of the prayers the priest recites in the Liturgy of St Basil says of civil leaders and authority:  ‘speak good things into their hearts concerning your Church and all your people, that we, in their tranquility, may lead a calm and peaceful life in all godliness and sanctity.” We have to pray and work for peace in our lives, in the Church and in the world. 

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