An ancient manuscript describes the martyrdoms of the Christians of the cities of Vienna and Lyons in the year 177.
According to this document, the local governor resumed the persecution of Christians under the orders of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. But, as is often the case, persecution didn’t begin with arrests and executions. Instead, Christians were first publicly ostracized; they were prohibited from using the public baths, selling in the marketplaces, and assigned other serious but lesser restrictions on their freedoms. Having turned popular sentiment against the Christians, sporadic and random mob violence against Christians soon followed.
The local authorities then arrested and tried prominent Christians. Some of those who were arrested renounced their faith out of fear, and pagans who were arrested because they were servants of Christians made up ridiculous stories about their masters because they were afraid they would be arrested and killed too.
Many Christians of these cities remained faithful, however, enduring (though sometimes also dying from) torture. The bishop of Lyons, Pothinus, was ninety years old when he was martyred.
The other Christians of Lyons and Vienna, young and old, male and female, held fast to their faith in Christ despite being brutally and publicly executed. Which, as often happens, simply prepared the way for many conversions to the faith in the future.
Holy Martyrs, help me love and forgive those who ridicule my faith and those who have abandoned the faith out of weakness.