OPPONENTS OF CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY
For almost two thousand years, the many opponents of Christ striking out against the Church, have achieved results exactly opposite those that they would expect. From the beginning the Jewish leaders loudly demanded the crucifixion of Christ, believing that they would do away with Him once and for all. They deemed Christ only worthy of death by crucifixion crying: Away with Him! Crucify Him! They achieved the opposite of their intentions for after His glorious third-day Resurrection
He continues to be honored and celebrated throughout the world. This showed Christ not just alive but as the Giver of Life He offers eternal life to the whole world. The river of Christianity keeps on flowing on always getting larger and traveling further, opponents attempted to block its flow and instead it became widened and deepened, and now has spread everywhere. Their plans were to get rid of memory of Christ and dry up Christianity but they achieved opposite results for instead of drying up, Christianity has continued to flood over the entire world.
Martyrs appeared in many places and glorified Christ; trying to stamp out the Christian faith opponent rulers tortured and put many to death and as a result often hundreds of new Christians observing their brave and firm actions, followed them in strong faith and acceptance of Jesus Christ
The killing of one martyr would cause dozens of new believers to be baptized. The opposite of their intentions was the result, for God’s power is invincible.
Opponents of Jesus Christ and the Church decided to take the great Martyr Irene (May 5) into custody as she was spreading knowledge of Christ and bore witness to His glorious crucifixion and resurrection. Repeatedly they viciously tortured her and what did they achieve. The result of her martyrdom and with the mighty power of God, St. Irene caused over 100.000 people to believe and be baptized. Here own father and mother who were idolaters were also baptized. Her father had died and Irene resurrected him.
By attacking Christ’s followers, torturing and killing them so as to do away with Christianity, the opponents watched in amazement as the Church kept on growing. Most of the twelve Apostles who spread the Faith throughout the world, were put to death in martyrdom, but the opponents watched in unbelief for as the Church was persecuted it increased more and more. The more persecution the more increase in Christians.
The invincible Faith of St. John the Russian
“You cannot turn me from my holy Faith by threats, nor with promises of riches and pleasures. I will obey your orders willingly, if you will leave me free to follow my faith. I would rather surrender my head to you than to change my faith. I was born a Christian, and I shall die a Christian.”
“Christianity is finished!” was the cry of many opponents of Christ and the Church.. And with all their persecutions and foul deeds they witnessed the glory of God for new Christians sprang up everywhere. The power that causes martyrs death to cause an increase in the number of Christians is the almighty power of God in heaven, from Him martyrs derived the strength and great hope such as that expressed by St. John the Russian. All martyrs receive from the Lord the strength and patience which they demonstrate.
The persecutions slowed down with change of secular law, especially by Constantine the Great.
However in modern times we see the Papacy opposing Christ’s Church with the claim that they are the true church. Protestants having broken away from the Papacy, formed new churches and together they oppose the Church founded by Christ. But just as Christ triumphed over the devil by His death which put death to death, so the Church will continue to prevail over her opponents. All who are preaching strange gospels about Christ outside the Church, will lose their power and see their claims to represent Christ dashed against a stone.
Both the Papacy and Protestants are situated in direct opposition to the true Christ and His Orthodox Church, having introduced various opinions and heresies rather than receiving the truth from Orthodoxy, instead distorting the gospel concerning Christianity and the Church. However the same divine power present in the Church will one day nullify all the innovations of Rome and eliminate the heresies of Protestantism. For Christ declared: “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” Christ the rock will crush and destroy all opponents and enemies but the Orthodox Church of Christ will prevail and continue to increase.