Perpetua and Felicity March 7
Today as we hear the latest ragings of the human heart–wars and preparations for war, unchecked greed, sophisticated tribalism, inflamed ideology, misery, poverty and religion carrying people off into rampages of violence and public displays of barbarism–we commemorate African martyrs, Perpetua and Felicity and their companions. These two women made quiet and final Christian witness that even today breaks through the ordinary painful stories we tell and in which we participate. In 202 Roman emperor Lucius Septimus Severus decreed that conversions to Christianity or Judaism would be punished by death. Perpetua and Felicity were among the people put to death, following their baptisms, in the arena of Carthage in north Africa. According to legend, the two survived the attacks of the wild animals, embraced, exchanged a kiss of peace as a final Christian confession, and were killed by the sword.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Tertullian 160-225 CE