Christianity’s Criminal History, 99

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

Most of the written statements about the martyrs are falsified, but all of them were considered as totally valid historical documents (6 of 7)

It only remains to say that we are not talking about pious legends, but about written statements, of historical stories; that these documents also expressly claim to be the ‘correct notes’ where we can read, ‘The exact history of those who were before us has been written down by the lips of elders and reliable bishops and priests who love the truth. They saw it with their own eyes in their day’.

The Christians gave testimony of their faith with their blood in increasing groups, that in such quantities and so heroically died that the executioners ended up exhausted from the massacres. On one occasion they die with their sixteen bishops, on another 128 martyrs; then 111 men and nine women, then 275, then 8,940, then they cannot be counted since their number is greater than several thousand.

In fact, there were far fewer Christian martyrs than the world was led to believe over the centuries. Some of the true ones disappeared without a trace, their ashes were thrown into the rivers or scattered by the wind.

There were vast regions in which the martyrs were scarce or nonexistent, and as relics began to be placed in the altars, pilgrimages to distant places were organised and painful travels were carried out, if indeed they were made. The remains of known martyrs reached a high price, but the demand of pieces of martyrs was excessive, whether or not their names were known. Group martyrs enjoyed special preference:

• The 18 of Zaragoza,

• The 40 of Sebaste, all the ‘servants of arms’,

• The 70 companions of the holy monk Athanasius,

• Those who were drowned in a river, the 99 executed with St. Nicon in Caesarea/Palestine,

• The 128 who died with the holy Bishop Sadoth under the Persian King Shapur;

• The nearly two-dozen bishops and 250 clerics who reached martyrdom also in Persia,

• The 200 men and 70 women who suffered heroic martyrdom under Diocletian on the island of Palmaris,

• The 300 suicides that Prudentius invented (the most admired and read Christian author in the Middle Ages), who, to avoid being slaughtered under Valerian, threw themselves into a pit of quicklime,

• The—more stories of falsehood!—1,525 martyred saints of Umbria, the Theban legion,

• No less than 6,600 men who were apparently martyred in Switzerland (probably they alone more than all the Christian martyrs in all of antiquity),

• The thousands of martyrs that Emperor Diocletian burned alive in a church because they refused to do any ‘offering to idols’ (Roman Martyrology),

• The 10,000 Christians crucified on Mount Ararat or the 24,000 Catholic companions of St. Pappus, who under Licinius died for Christ in Antioch.

Afterwards even the figures are left untold, speaking of ‘innumerable’ martyrs. The deaths of ‘many martyred saints’ are stereotyped as ‘almost all the flock’. There are accounts of ‘the suffering of many holy women who out of love for the Christian faith were martyred in the cruelest way’. The following can be read in the Roman Martyrology:

Record of all Christians crowned with holiness and death in martyrdom, whose life, written statements and heroic deaths the Roman Catholic Church has compiled from the most secure sources and which it records and preserves for their eternal commemorative memory; with added summaries of the highlights of their lives, the reason for their conversion, their acts and their painful death.

It is understandable that very often the relics were designated with the formula: ‘whose name God knows’.

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