manifested the power of God. When faced with Rome's coercive threats, the martyrs held fast to their freedom and their relationships within their Christian community. They would not surrender these to an oppressive power. Rome chose to kill them, but they chose to preserve life in paradise. They had already experienced paradise in their earthly life,
and they knew death would not take that from them. Their
witness encouraged others to trust that violence in the worst forms imaginable could not separate them from their beloved community or cut them off from their source of life
and power. A martyr's death was a
paradox; in refusing to submit to unjust power, the martyr witnessed to the true power that generated paradise on earth.