Early Church Fathers
The Letter of the Churches of Vienna and Lugdunum to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia1
It began thus:-"The servants of Christ who sojourn in Vienna and Lugdunum of Gaul to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of redemption as ourselves, peace, grace, and glory from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord."
After some further preliminary remarks the letter proceeds:-"The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the exceeding anger of the heathen nations against the saints, and the sufferings which the blessed Witnesses2 endured, neither are we competent to describe accurately, nor indeed is it possible to detail them in writing. For with all his strength did the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his activity among us which is to be without restraint; and he had recourse to every means, accustoming his own subjects and exercising them beforehand against the servants of God, so that not only were we excluded from houses,3 baths, and the forum, but a universal prohibition was laid against any one of us appearing in any place whatsoever. But the grace of God acted as our general against him. It rescued the weak; it arrayed against him men like firm pillars, who could through patience bear up against the whole force of the assaults of the wicked one. These came to close quarters with him, enduring every form of reproach and torture; and, making light of grievous trials, they hastened on to Christ, showing in reality that the `sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.'4 And first they nobly endured the evils which were heaped on them by the populace,-namely, hootings and blows, draggings, plunderings, stonings, and confinements,5 and everything that an infuriated mob is wont to perpetrate against those whom they deem bitter enemies. And at length, being brought to the forum by the tribune of the soldiers, and the magistrates that had charge of the city, they were examined in presence of the whole multitude; a