St. Paul of Cyprus

Eastern Orthodox Martyr
The Byzantine Empire was an officially Christian state; there was no separation of church and state.  With Muslim forces at the gates and imperial borders shrunken to mainly Asia Minor and the Balkans, the empire’s leaders pursued a distraction:  the destruction of icons.  Many faithful people refused to support Iconoclasm, however. 
During the reign of Emperor Constantine V (741-775), imperial officials hauled one St. Paul into court and arraigned him.  He had not commit a violent crime or a theft.  Nor, he had opposed Iconoclasm.  He had disagreed with the Emperor on a matter of theology.  The court offered the saint a choice:  desecrate a crucifix or die.  He died.  Agents of an officially Christian government burned a man alive because he refused to desecrate a crucifix.

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