A Word about our Patron
June 1st -
Patron of Lecturers
St. Justin was born of Greek parents in 100 A.D. at Nablus
(ancient Shechem), Palestine,
in what is today known as the West Bank Israel area. He came from a pagan
family, but at the age of thirty-three, after years of studying the
various systems of philosophy, he became converted to Christianity by way
of Platonism. Thereafter, his whole life was devoted to the propagation
and defense of the Faith in Asia Minor and at Rome.
He possessed an insatiable desire to learn the truth, wherever he
could find it. As a young man, he was principally attracted to the school
of Plato. This lead him to
study the works of his famous Greek ancestors - Socrates, Plato and
Aristotle. However, he found that the Christian religion answered the
great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers.
We find in St. Justin a rare combination of faith and reason and,
being a writer, he was able to formulate his beliefs making use of both.
He was a teacher and philosopher by profession. He heard the good news
proclaimed by the disciples of our Lord. Upon his conversion he continued
to wear the philosopher's mantle, and became the first Christian
philosopher. He combined the Christian religion with the best elements in
Greek philosophy. In his view, philosophy was a pedagogue of Christ, an
educator that was to lead one to Christ.
Justin never ended his quest for religious truth even when he
converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan
philosophies. After he became a Catholic, he devoted his philosophical
talents to showing the basis in reason for acceptance of the Christian
It was reported that St. Justin had a deep admiration for the martyrs.
He was fascinated that they believed in a person and a cause so much that
they were willing to die rather than deny. At the age of thirty-three,
after years of studying the various systems of philosophy, he became
converted to Christianity by way of Platonism. Thereafter, his whole life
was devoted to the propagation and defense of the Faith in Asia
Minor and at Rome.
Justin is known as an apologist, one who defends in writing the
Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the
pagans. Two of his so-called apologies have come down to us; they are
addressed to the Roman emperor and to the Senate. Though he retained the
garb of a philosopher, he is the most important Christian Apologist of
the 2nd century and the first of whom we possess written works. These are
the two Apologies (to the Emperor Antoninus and the Roman Senate) setting
forth the moral values of Christianity, and the Dialogue demonstrating
its truth to the Jew Trypho. They are invaluable for the information they
contain about the Christian Faith and practice at that time.
He opened the first School
of Christian Philosophy at Rome
shortly thereafter, where he drew the attention of the authorities
because of his new teaching and faith in the risen Lord. His reputation
for Christian zeal grew because of his writing in defense of the Catholic
faith. He directed two "Apologies" to the Emperor Antoninus and
to the Roman Senate. An edict of the Emperor Antoninus lessened the
persecution of the Christians.
We are also told that St. Justin held several conversations with some
elderly Christian person down by the lake side. There he learned of Jesus
and many of the Old Testament people of faith, especially Abraham.
While bearing witness to the Faith in Rome,
he was denounced as a Christian, most likely at the instigation of a
Cynic philosopher whom he had outshone in a public debate. Rather than
deny and renounce his faith, the more he publicly and openly professed
his faith and fervor in teaching Christian Philosophy.
The next emperor however, imprisoned St. Justin and condemned him to
death. While teaching in a school in Rome,
he was arrested and ordered to sacrifice to the gods. Rather than deny
and renounce his faith, the more he publicly and openly professed his
faith and fervor in teaching Christian Philosophy. He chose to be
beheaded when he replied: "No right-minded man forsakes truth for
falsehood." When asked if he was a Christian, he emphatically
replied: "Yes, I am a Christian." For his staunch adherence to
the Christian religion, St. Justin was finally beheaded in defense of the
Faith and because of his teachings about the Lord. He died in Rome,
a martyr on April 13, 165 AD.
The six others who were with him remained steadfast and they all attained
the palm of martyrdom.
His feast day is celebrated throughout the whole of Christendom on the
1st of June.