Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

78. Photinus

An Old Man Of Ninety Years, Called Photinus, Miserably Maltreated For The Testimony Of Jesus Christ, Before the Tribunal, At Lyons, In France, Who Afterwards Died In The Prison, About The Year 179

In Eusebius’ Church History, as well as in several other ancient writers, mention is made of a certain old man, of more than ninety years, called Photinus, a teacher of the church at Lyons, in France. It is stated of him, that on account of his great age he could not walk, but, having such a burning desire to die for the name of Christ, he, as A. Mellinus has recorded, had himself carried before the judgment seat, in order to be sentenced to death with the other martyrs. When he was brought to the tribunal by the soldiers, the magistracy of the city of Lyons, and the whole multitude of the people followed him, and began to cry out, that he was a Christian, together with much calumniating and abusive language. Eusebius says, that, as this old man stood before the Judge at the tribunal, the common people began to cry: “This is Christ Himself.” When the Judge thereupon asked him, who the God of the Christians was, he answered with remarkable candor: “If thou art worthy of it, thou shalt know.” This displeased the Judge so greatly, that he commanded that this pious witness of Jesus should be struck in his face with fists. Upon this, he was most unmercifully pushed, kicked, pulled, and knocked by the by-standers, and thrown at with whatever they could get hold of, without regard to the feebleness of his age; yea, they considered those accomplices with him, who did not show enough diligence in assaulting and every way abusing this aged man. Photinus, having been thus maltreated, yea, nearly beaten to death, so that life seemed almost extinct, was taken from the tribunal back into prison, where, after two days of great misery, having commended his soul into the hands of God, he died, and thus attained to a blessed end.

Compare Euseb., Sth book, 2d chapter, fol. 83, col. 1, 2 with J oh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 1, on the name Photinus. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 46, col. 2, from various other authors. Also, Introduction, fol. 38, col. 1, erroneously called Photimus.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror