A Play: Saint Justin and His Companions


News Reporter: I’m here reporting from the city of Rome. We’re about to hear the trial of Justin and four other prisoners. All have been accused of being Christians. Rusticus, the man who will judge their case, has just walked in. He’s beginning the trial. Let’s listen.
Rusticus: Justin! You stand accused of great crimes. Tell me, is it true that you refuse to obey the gods and the orders of our Roman emperor?
Justin: I obey the commands of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know about your gods, and I have studied the teachings of the world’s great thinkers. After considering them all, I have pledged myself to follow the true teachings of the Christians.
Rusticus: You foolish man! You prefer the teachings of the Christians to those of our great emperor?
Justin: I do, for Christian teaching is true.
Rusticus: Just what is this teaching of the Christians?
Justin: We worship the one true God who made the world. This one true God sent his Son, Jesus, to earth that we might be saved from sin. Jesus has taught us the truths by which we live.
Rusticus: Do you confess that you are a Christian?
Justin: Yes, I am a Christian. I cannot deny what I know to be true.
Rusticus: And you, Chariton, are you a Christian too?
Chariton: I am. I follow the teachings of Jesus.
Rusticus: And what do you say, Charito?
Chariton: God has given me the great gift of faith in his Son.
Rusticus: And you, Evelpistus, you were once a slave to the emperor himself. You, more than the others, have seen the great wisdom and power of our leader. Surely you are no Christian.
Evelpistus: I am a Christian. I am a slave no more. I have been freed by Christ, who died to save me. One day he will take me to heaven.
Hierax: Judge, I am Hierax. You don’t even need to ask. I too worship the one true God. I have long been a Christian, and I shall always be one.
News Reporter: The courtroom is restless. A man has stood up and joined the Christians on trial. I’m told his name is Paeon.
Paeon: If you try these men as Christians, then you must try me as well. For I am also a Christian!
Rusticus: You, Justin, are said to be a wise man. Listen well. I can have you beaten and beheaded. Will your God help you then?
Justin: We will die before we give up our beliefs. There is no amount of torture that will make us offer sacrifices to false idols. Am I right?
All Christians: Yes! We agree!
Justin: Do your worst. When we are dead, we will go to heaven to be with our Lord, and we will be rewarded beyond anything your emperor can dream of.
Rusticus: Very well. Take them away! Punish them fully. Torture them until they break. And if they do not break, take their heads!
News Reporter: The holy martyrs are leaving now. Their faces are radiant. None seems afraid, even though all will be cruelly whipped and then beheaded. And that’s the news here in Rome this day in the year 165.

Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio