Today is the feast of Saint Justin, my patron saint. Justin was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church known for their writings on Church doctrine. Born around the year 100 in the Roman Empire, he was a Greek philosopher who converted to Christianity. He was arrested and summoned to trial for his faith by the pagan Roman emperor, who ordered him to provide information about the Christian religion. As a gifted intellectual and apologist, Justin explained and defended Church teaching and practice in a public court of law. His description of second-century Christian worship, which appears in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, portrays a ritual remarkably similar to today's Catholic Mass. For his adherence to his faith, Justin was martyred in the year 165. Saint Justin, pray for us!
I'm not sure why he is sometimes referred to as St. Justin Martyr. Perhaps it's to distinguish him from several other saints named Justin who lived around the same time, but were not martyred. In any case, he's one of my favorite saints and a patron of this blog.
Note: The word "apologist" comes from a Greek word apologia, meaning "speech." Justin wrote his speeches and delivered them in front of the emperor much as a defendant's attorney would at a modern trial.