The Story of Blandina

   Blandina coughed and gasped for air. The prison was suffocating. 

   It was the second century A. D. In the last decades, the gospel had spread throughout the Roman Empire. And as the gospel spread, so did persecution. 

   The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius had ordered Christians to be rounded up and killed in the most horrific methods. Slave and free, male and female, old and young--all were arrested and thrown into prison. 

   In the city of Lyons in the Roman province of Gaul, Blandina, a young slave woman, was imprisoned with several other believers awaiting death in the Roman arena. The lack of fresh air and foul stench made for a stifling experience. Some of the Christians even suffocated in the prison. 

   Blandina’s mistress was a Christian, and it may have been through her that Blandina first learned of Christ. Blandina had never been physically strong, and her mistress, who was imprisoned with her, feared she would not be able to stand fast. 

   But when soldiers led her away to be tortured, Blandina displayed a strength not her own. The soldiers took it in shifts to subject her to dreadful tortures, urging her to curse Christ and confess the wicked deeds done by the “godless,” as they termed the Christians. Blandina refused to deny Christ or accuse her brothers and sisters in the faith, saying, “I am a Christian. Among us no evil is done.” Eventually, the soldiers gave up. They could hardly believe she was still alive after all the tortures inflicted on her. 

   The day came when the Christians were to be killed in the arena. Blandina was hung on a post, intended to be eaten by wild animals. But the beasts refused to touch her, and as she hung there crying out to God in prayer, her faith and courage inspired the other Christians facing death. 

   The others perished, but Blandina was hauled back to prison. A few days later, she was again in the arena with a Christian boy of fifteen named Ponticus. Blandina urged him to stand firm. After facing the lash and the wild animals, Ponticus lay dead. Blandina, though her body was bruised, bloodied, and broken, yet lived. 

   An eyewitness said that she looked as if she were invited to a wedding feast rather than thrown to the wild beasts. Her face was radiant. 

   Blandina was wrapped in a net and tossed about by a raging bull before she finally died. Those watching said they had never seen a woman suffer so greatly and for so long. 

   The bodies of Blandina and the other Christians were left in the streets for six days before being burned to ashes and cast into the Rhone River. Their fellow believers were not allowed to give them a proper burial. The Romans said it was their hope in the resurrection that gave them such courage, and they were attempting to take away that hope. 

   What they didn’t know was that the hope of eternal life with Christ is a hope that no one can take away. 

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts 

by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5


Trial and Triumph by Richard M. Hannula

Ten Girls Who Didn’t Give In by Irene Howat

P. S. Art by yours truly.


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