The early church leader Tertullian wrote during the Roman persecutions that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” What was true then is true today as the worldly sacrifice of brave Christians serves to inspire others to take their place and continue preaching the Gospel message.
The cumulative effect of these various influences prepared the public mind for Henry’s act of rebellion. Parliament was submissive enough to the king’s will to ratify his action and vote him the title of Supreme Head of the Church of England. It transferred to him the power of appointment of the higher clergy. Appeals to Rome were abolished and the dispensing power was given to the Archbishop of Canterbury. By these specific acts, the separation from Rome was made complete by 1535.
The faithfulness of Christian martyrs had a great influence on those who witnessed their courage and, as a result, countless men and women converted to the faith.
The death of Stephen launched the first active persecution of believers. The arrest and execution of Christians became so frequent that they fled from the city for safety. Throughout Judea and Samaria they scattered, carrying with them the Gospel of Jesus.
Hugh Latimer (c. 1485-1555) was an English bishop and martyr, Latimer was born in Leicestershire, England and received his education at Christ’s College, Cambridge.
Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) was born in Samaria, Justin was well educated and grew up in a family of means who allowed him to travel extensively. He earnestly sought the truth in various religions and philosophies but didn’t find peace until an elderly believer led him to Christ.
John Hus (c. 1373-1415) was born in Bohemia, or what is today the Czech Republic. Hus was of peasant stock but distinguished himself academically and was accepted into the University of Prague.
Felicitas and Perpetua (d. 203) were early Christian martyrs.