Never was Rome in more danger from the church than when Christians refused military service. When the Empire was threatened on three borders at once, the pacifism of the church threatened the Roman way of life. Roman officials saw clearly that a vast organization with many conscientious objectors, and opposed to Roman ideals, could not be tolerated in a time of war. Thus, Christians were purged from the army in the early fourth century. In 320, near the end of the Great Persecution, the emperor Licinius ordered all Christians to renounce their faith on pain of death. Forty soldiers of the Twelfth Legion, stationed at Sebaste in Armenia, refused. On March 9 they were stripped naked, forced out onto a frozen lake, and left to die from exposure. Fires were built on the bank, and warm baths were prepared for anyone who would recant. Only one gave in. Yet when he did, another soldier, moved by the example of the suffering Christians, declared himself a Christian and took the apostate's place. Within 24 hours, most of the 40 were dead and the survivors were put to death. All were made famous by Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa Source: Persecution in the Early Church: Christian History, Issue 27.

source: Anonymous tags: Character, Courage, Evangelism