Martyrdom is a concept of Christian civilisation, denoting following Jesus Christ in His suffering. Persecution of the believers in Jesus bear the meaning of a confrontation and open conflict of two forces. On one side there is all the power, deception and a tempting lie of the earthly life. On the other there is the testimony of truth, love and purity of heart.
Tormentors and persecutors do not always aim to kill. They have always hoped for a different outcome, a different victory: to terrorise, to sway, to make their opponents to reject what they believe in and what is important in their lives. That is why each true sacrifice is a defeat of the enemy and another celebration of Christian faith. Giving one’s life for the truth that lies in Jesus’ words is the most authentic testimony to that truth.
In the number of their martyrs and the power of their testimonies, Serbs do not lag behind the greatest Christian nations of the world.
Martiry, a Greek word for suffering, also to witness certain values of life, thus pointing best to the meaning of a martyr’s sacrifice.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
In the olden times, it was expected that people should give personal testimony of the truth they advocated through actual deeds. To suffer a sacrifice for one’s own word was deemed an honourable and righteous deed, worthy of trust. Their faith in God, hope for freedom, love of the family and close ones Christian martyrs testified in the way that they preferred to sacrifice their own lives rather than deny the blessed power of such values. They rightfully reasoned that it was better to give one’s own life for the more valuable one – the heavenly one, the eternal bliss of the future era.
The greatest and the most celebrated martyr of the Serbian nation through centuries was the Holy Prince Lazar with his Christian army, who at a critical moment went against the Turkish invasion.
At the times of servitude in the late 16th century, a period of uprising started followed by martyred deaths of the leaders who paid for their faith.
The epoch of new martyrs in Serbs started with a heroic struggle for freedom in the 19th century. Serbia has never recovered properly from the loss of a great number of male population in the First World War. The Second World War brought the Orthodox Christians all the horrors that had never been seen in the world before – more than half a million of the population who was not ready to deny its faith was killed on killing sites and in camps by the hand of the peoples who lived in the neighbouring countries.
Holy Prince Lazar, Đorđe Kratovac, Great Martyr Stanko, Deacon Avakum, Vukašin of Klepci, Priest-Martyr Petar, the Dabro-Bosnian Metropolitan and many others.