Justin Martyr, the Philosopher
Justin Martyr was from Neapolis of Palestine, was a follower of Plato the philosopher. Born in 103 AD, he came to the Faith of Christ when he was already a mature man, seeking to find God through philosophy and human reasoning. A venerable elder appeared to him and spoke to him about the Prophets who had taught of God not through their own wisdom, but by revelation; and he led him to knowledge of Christ, Who is the fulfilment of what the Prophets taught. St Justin soon became a fervent follower of Christ, and an illustrious apologist of the Evangelical teachings. The following is an example of his dialogue:
“He [Christ] became Man by the Virgin so that the course which has taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent, might be also the very course by which it would be put down. For Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent, and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied: ‘Be it done unto me according to thy word”.
To the end of his life, while preaching Christ in all parts, Justin never put off his philosopher’s garb. In Rome, he gave the Emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138-161 AD) an apology wherein he proved the innocence and holiness of the Christian Faith, persuading him to relieve the persecution of Christians. Through the machinations of Crescens, a Cynic philosopher who envied him, St Justin was beheaded in Rome in 167 AD under Antoninus’ successor, Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 AD). Besides his defence of Christianity (First and Second Apologies), St Justin wrote against paganism (Discourse to the Greeks; Hortatory Address to the Greeks), and refuted Jewish objections against Christ (Dialogue with Trypho).
Dismissal Hymn (Plagal of the First Tone)
Let us worship the Word
You emptied the cup of the wisdom of the Greeks, and you thirsted yet again, till you came unto the well where you found water springing to eternal life. And having drunk deeply thereof, you also drank the cup that Christ gave to His disciples. Wherefore, O Justin, we praise you as a philosopher and Martyr of Christ.
Kontakion (Third Tone)
As the breath of Paradise, the dew descending from Aermon, Christ the Power and the Peace and Wisdom of God the Father, came upon thy thirsting spirit, O Martyr Justin, making thee a spring of knowledge for all the faithful, when you bore with true valour death as a martyr, to live for ever in Christ.
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Pyrros the Hieromartyr