The Scillitan Martyrs

The Scillitan Martyrs were the first documented African martyrs. The 12 Christians, seven men and five women, were martyred in 180 in Scillium (in what is present-day Algeria and Tunisia) for refusing to call the Roman emperor their god. Unlike other Christians, they were not tortured but put on trial and offered 30 days to change their minds. When they still refused to recant their faith, they were put to death by the sword.

“The Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs,” a contemporaneous account of their trial and execution, is considered to be among the earliest documents of the Church in Africa and also the earliest example of Christian Latin.

Their feast day is July 17.

Scillitan Martyrs, pray for us.