The Word ‘martyr’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘witness’. Witness, of course was absolutely central to early Christianity.

In Celtic thought, there were three kind of martyrdom, or witness:

– White Martyrdom

White is associated with the walls of a monastery, and so White Martyrdom or witness is to become a ‘monk’ or ‘nun’.

– Green Martyrdom

The colour green is associated with walking through nature, so the Green Martyrdom or witness was to become a travelling, peripatetic preacher, perhaps setting up new churches on the way – a permanent pilgrim.

– Red Martyrdom

The colour red is associated with blood, so Red Martyrdom is the kind of martyrdom that we usually associate with the word martyrdom – giving your life, or having it taken for the faith.


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