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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Martyrs 23d: San Roman's passion==Christ's Passion; fiery flame of the Lord; Steadfast Lutheran, Steadfast Martyr

     This continues from Part 23c (Table of Contents in Part 1a and Part 1b) publishing the book of Hermann Fick on the martyrs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. — Part 23d concludes the story of Francisco San Roman.
      It is the Holy Week as Christians remember the sufferings of our Saviour as He carried the weight of all the sin of the whole world on Himself.  This concluding segment on San Roman reminds us of this very suffering of our Saviour... in a most spectacular way.

Some highlighting added; hyperlinks added for reference.

by C.J. Hermann Fick
(tr. by BackToLuther)
The other was horrified at these words of San Roman, and began to weep bitterly, for he had a heartfelt sympathy with him.  But because the relentless carriage driver so impetuously hurried him away, he could answer nothing else than that he sighed much and wept over his misery.  In this deplorable situation, with burdening chains bound to a carriage, now the dear martyr was dragged with the imperial court, brought with him to Africa where the emperor went at that time, and was led back and forth until the Emperor was beaten and then returned to Spain.  There have been also some who said that the Emperor was therefore not victorious because he allowed such abominable tyranny and rage against Christian blood.  As soon as they came to Spain, the blessed Francisco was immediately handed over to the Inquisition, which racked him even more terribly than he had ever been troubled in his prison, on the sea, and by the soldiers.  They threw him into a dark prison and sent him the most unlearned monks who tormented him unceasingly and violently assailed him so they could make him apostate of the perceived truth.  They led him out sometimes for spectacles in front of the people and did all kinds of disgrace to him; they cursed and blasphemed [page 183] him abominably every day.  But God strengthened his faithful disciple by His powerful grace that he never became fainthearted or despondent in spite of all the pain and torment, even more from the Word of God, but he was from day to day only more joyful and bold and persistently steadfast in faith.  He continually denied the false doctrine of the monks, which they gave out as the highest wisdom of God, and but claimed that this was the truth, what they condemned as heretical.
The epitome of his doctrine, which he confessed publicly and in a clear voice to his end, was the following.  He said that no man by his wealth and power, by his good works, holiness or worthiness could earn forgiveness of sins, righteousness or eternal life before God, but that all men, out of God’s pure grace and mercy, without any human merit, for the sake of the Mediator Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who cleansed us by his blood from our sins, appeased the wrath of the Father, and had restored the salvation of the human race which must be blessed.  The teaching of the monks from the sacrifice of the Mass, that they (ex opere operato) earned forgiveness of sins for the living and the dead for this work's sake, he rejected entirely.  He also condemned the doctrine of auricular confession, the narration of all the sins, of the suitable satisfaction for the sins by Purgatory, by papal indulgences, by invocation of saints and images, saying such would be an abominable blasphemy against God, and reduced the holy bloodshed of Christ our Lord.
Finally, the Papists let all hope dwindle in turning away this steadfast Lutheran from the faith.  Therefore they, the "Holy fathers," as the inquisitors called themselves, condemned publicly that he should be burned alive as an obstinate heretic, for defending blasphemous and false doctrine.  Some people who were present at this judgment later testified to Enzinas that there were at the same time many criminals on trial with him, but none of these villains had been condemned to death, but only our Francisco.  So furiously the Roman church hates the true children of God.  The blessed martyrs was therefore taken out alone in front of the city to his death, as this [page 184] was thought by everyone to be an abomination. Also they put on his head a paper crown on which many execrable devils were painted, and reviled him so incessantly with abusive words, that they are harder to listen to for a Christian than even to suffer death.  However, there stood before the town a wooden cross.  When one came now to it, the monks instructed him to worship it.  But the faithful witness replied heart joyfully: "Christians do not worship wood.  But he confesses to be a Christian who presently feels the divine assistance, and worships with all his heart and faith his God, just as He requires of us."  Wherefore he earnestly asked the inquisitors that they would take him to where he would be condemned.  There the people arose, which flowed with him in numbers, to the place of his voice and railed against him as a heretic who refused to worship the cross.  However the poor blind people astonished themselves over the divine strength, which was according to their opinion in this cross, that it did not want to be worshipped by such heretic.  Indeed! soon went out the cry that God had done a special miracle on this cross, therefore they thought it was so great and holy that in throngs they with drawn swords hastily chopped up the cross well into a thousand pieces and tore it; and whoever could only get a small piece of it thought himself blessed, because they ascribed to this wood the strength that it would be able to cure all kinds of diseases.  

Arriving at the place of judgment, the monks sought again to persuade him to recant with many troublesome and useless words.  But San Roman was determined now to seal with his blood that evangelical Lutheran doctrine which he had already confessed by so many tortures.  Therefore he spoke boldly even to his enemies, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, that they should go ahead and finish what they decided to do with him; he did not need these words, they would not want to spend the time in vain.  When they heard this, they put him in the middle of the stake, tied him up and set fire to the wood in many places. As now the flames of the fire surrounded the dear confessor, he lifted his head a little because of smoke or something else.
The inquisitors attributed this as a sign that he would recant; therefore in haste they took him off the pyre before the fire had done particular damage to him [page 185] and asked him again if he would recant.  When the gallant hero of the faith heard this, he turned happy and fearless like a lion to them saying: "Why should you yet rage for all generations?  How are you yet so spiteful and unfavorable to me that with this delay you begrudge me such a great good, to which I hasten!  Will you even lead me from the way of eternal glory? Why will you not grant my blessedness to me?  Why do you rob me of my highest honor?"  The Inquisitors now saw clearly that they had made a mistake. They therefore let the steadfast martyr be thrown into the fire again, of which he was not at all alarmed.  He burned yet a little while, and then fell asleep joyful in Christ. This happened in the year 1542.
However, the inquisitors also did not rest even after the death of this blessed blood witness.  They declared him publicly to be a damned heretic of which no one should ask, and the holy, pious monks said Amen to that, and agreed with them.  Indeed!  they made the unanimous decision in all their schools that this Francisco should be held as a heretic and no one may hope that he had been saved.  And those who speak against it, act against the Holy Roman Church, whose decision must necessarily be certainly believed both in heaven above and on earth beneath.   In contrast, there were some marksmen of the emperor, who collected the ashes of Francisco's body and diligently kept them as a special sanctuary. And the envoy at that time of the King of England desired that he should be given written notice of the case record and regarded our Francisco as a true martyr of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But when this came to the attention of the Inquisition and the Emperor, they were so angry over it that he cast the marksmen into prison, and had the envoy removed from the court for a time.
So the holy San Roman completed the victory run of faith with joy. He was a burning and shining light, a fiery flame of the Lord.  From Bremen, where he was so wonderfully came to the knowledge, through the Netherlands, Germany, Africa and Spain he glorified the name of the Lord through his confessions and torture.  He had desired that his parents, his native city, and his beloved Spain be enlightened with the Word of God. [page 186]  But God had decided it differently: he must himself, on a flaming pyre, throw light in the darkness and the shadow of death of the papacy on the benighted of Spain as a powerful fire sign, which showed all the people to the Word of God.  Only the Day of Judgment will disclose in how many hearts he thereby gave the brilliance of the Gospel.  However his example awakens us to be equally fiery in love to the Lord, in a time when the love in many grows cold.
= = = = = = = = = =  End of history of Francisco San Roman  = = = = = = = = = = = =

Who would argue that today is not "a time when the love in many grows cold"?  Fick said: "Only the Day of Judgment will disclose in how many hearts he thereby gave the brilliance of the Gospel." –  Oh dear Francisco! your story shines in MY heart, today!  Would to God I had a tiny piece of the shining faith you had!
Note to the Holy Roman Catholic Church:  
Francisco San Roman IS in heaven.  And his "blood witness" continues to this day against you.
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There is a website called Steadfast Lutherans catering largely to members and pastors of the LC-MS.  If those members are true to that name, they will read of this "Steadfast Lutheran" who remained as a Steadfast Martyr of the Evangelical Lutheran faith.  Perhaps they will then ask why their LC-MS is so friendly towards the Roman Catholic church of which Hermann Fick says it  "hates the true children of God".  Perhaps they will ask "How come?", how come their LC-MS cannot quite confess with the Lutheran Confessions that the Pope in Rome is the true Antichrist?  Is it because they are not quite sure if it really is "by grace alone"?
(The series of martyrs continues in Part 24a...)

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