The Twenty Thousand Martyrs of Nicomedia (d. AD 303)

Thousands of Christians were persecuted and martyred under the ruthless rule of emperor Diocletian.

When the Christians were accused of setting fire to Nicomedia’s imperial court, Diocletian gave orders to destroy churches and to burn Christian books. However, the Christians remained unmoved in their faith and refused to worship pagan gods. Church tradition tells us that while Christians were inside their church praying on Christmas Day, soldiers set fire to the building, and twenty thousand Christians were burned alive.