In Persia (Iran), Christians suffered persecution under the emperor Bahram. Hormisdas, a Christian nobleman, was summoned before the emperor. In answer to Bahram’s demand that he renounce Christ, Hormisdas refused to do so, explaining that such a denial would offend God, and that a man willing “to violate the supreme law of the sovereign Lord of all” could not be trusted to remain faithful even to his earthly king. He added that if treason against an earthly sovereign is punishable by death, “what must it be to renounce the God and ruler of the universe?” Unmoved by this argument, Bahram ordered Hormisdas to be stripped of his titles and stripped of his clothes, leaving him only his loin cloth. He was then condemned to tend the emperor’s camels. Subsequently pitying the humiliated nobleman, Bahram gave Hormisdas a tunic and offered him clemency if he would “renounce the Carpenter’s Son.” In response, Hormisdas stripped off the tunic, asking the emperor how he could have believed it would persuade him “to abandon the law of God.” Hormisdas was later put to death.
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By Justin Soutar
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