FYI February 23, 2022

On This Day

303 – Roman emperor Diocletian orders the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.[1]
The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.[1] In 303, the emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians’ legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors (Galerius with the Edict of Serdica in 311) at different times, but Constantine and Licinius’ Edict of Milan (313) has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.

Christians had been subject to intermittent local discrimination in the empire, but emperors prior to Diocletian were reluctant to issue general laws against the religious group. In the 250s, under the reigns of Decius and Valerian, Roman subjects including Christians were compelled to sacrifice to Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution, but there is no evidence that these edicts were specifically intended to attack Christianity.[2] After Gallienus’s accession in 260, these laws went into abeyance. Diocletian’s assumption of power in 284 did not mark an immediate reversal of imperial inattention to Christianity, but it did herald a gradual shift in official attitudes toward religious minorities. In the first fifteen years of his rule, Diocletian purged the army of Christians, condemned Manicheans to death, and surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity. Diocletian’s preference for activist government, combined with his self-image as a restorer of past Roman glory, foreboded the most pervasive persecution in Roman history. In the winter of 302, Galerius urged Diocletian to begin a general persecution of the Christians. Diocletian was wary, and asked the oracle of Apollo at Didyma for guidance. The oracle’s reply was read as an endorsement of Galerius’s position, and a general persecution was called on February 23, 303.

Persecutory policies varied in intensity across the empire. Whereas Galerius and Diocletian were avid persecutors, Constantius was unenthusiastic. Later persecutory edicts, including the calls for universal sacrifice, were not applied in his domain. His son, Constantine, on taking the imperial office in 306, restored Christians to full legal equality and returned property that had been confiscated during the persecution. In Italy in 306, the usurper Maxentius ousted Maximian’s successor Severus, promising full religious toleration. Galerius ended the persecution in the East in 311, but it was resumed in Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor by his successor, Maximinus. Constantine and Licinius, Severus’s successor, signed the Edict of Milan in 313, which offered a more comprehensive acceptance of Christianity than Galerius’s edict had provided. Licinius ousted Maximinus in 313, bringing an end to persecution in the East.

The persecution failed to check the rise of the Church. By 324, Constantine was sole ruler of the empire, and Christianity had become his favored religion. Although the persecution resulted in death, torture, imprisonment, or dislocation for many Christians, the majority of the empire’s Christians avoided punishment. The persecution did, however, cause many churches to split between those who had complied with imperial authority (the traditores), and those who had remained “pure”. Certain schisms, like those of the Donatists in North Africa and the Melitians in Egypt, persisted long after the persecutions. The Donatists would not be reconciled to the Church until after 411. Some historians consider that, in the centuries that followed the persecutory era, Christians created a “cult of the martyrs”, and exaggerated the barbarity of the persecutions. Other historians using texts and archeological evidence from the period assert that this position is in error. Christian accounts were criticized during the Enlightenment and afterwards, most notably by Edward Gibbon. This can be attributed to the political anticlerical, and secular tenor of that period. Modern historians, such as G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, have attempted to determine whether Christian sources exaggerated the scope of the Diocletianic persecution, but disagreements continue.



Born On This Day

1892 – Agnes Smedley, American journalist and writer (d. 1950)[22]
Agnes Smedley (February 23, 1892 – May 6, 1950) was an American journalist, writer, and activist who supported the Chinese Communist Revolution. Raised in a poverty-stricken miner’s family in Missouri and Colorado, she dramatized the formation of her feminist and socialist consciousness in the autobiographical novel Daughter of Earth (1929).

As a college student during World War I, she organized support for the independence of India from the United Kingdom, receiving financial support from the government of Germany. After the war she went to Germany, where she met and worked with Indian nationalists. Between 1928 and 1941, she lived and worked in China, mainly as a journalist. During the first phase of the Chinese Civil War, she was based in Shanghai and published widely in support of the communist cause; later, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, she traveled with the Eighth Route Army and lived for a time in the communist base in Yan’an.

In addition to Daughter of Earth, Smedley’s publications include four non-fiction books on China; reportage for newspapers in the United States, England, and Germany; and a biography of the Chinese communist general Zhu De. She is accused of being a spy for the Comintern, and working with such agents as Richard Sorge, who was among her lovers.




“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world,”
As long as poverty and inequality persist, as long as people are wounded and imprisoned and despised, we humans will need accompaniment–practical, spiritual, intellectual.
Paul Farmer, MD

Paul Edward Farmer (October 26, 1959 – February 21, 2022) was an American medical anthropologist and physician. Farmer held an MD and PhD from Harvard University, where he was the Kolokotrones University Professor and the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was the co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. He was professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and abroad. Their work is documented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Infectious Diseases, the British Medical Journal, and Social Science and Medicine.

Farmer wrote extensively on health and human rights, the role of social inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases, and global health.

He was known as “the man who would cure the world”, as described in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Paul Farmer & Partners in Health received the Peace Abbey Foundation Courage of Conscience Award in 2007 for saving lives by providing free health care to people in the world’s poorest communities and working to improve health care systems globally. The story of Partners In Health is also told in the 2017 documentary Bending the Arc. He was a proponent of liberation theology.[1][2]

On April 24, 2021, Dr. Farmer was named Aurora Humanitarian, in recognition of his work with PIH.



Clean Eating: What is the Safest Cookware for 2022? Foods From The 1980s That Are Weirdly Making A Comeback

The Marginalian by Maria Popova: Reclaiming Friendship: A Visual Taxonomy of Platonic Relationships to Counter the Commodification of the Word “Friend”
WTF? How much damage was done to these children by firing a handgun at close range? He should be banned from all restaurants since he can not handle mistakes.
11 Alive: Man told 4-year-old to fire at officers after dispute over wrong McDonald’s order, police say The officer instinctively swiped the gun away as it was being fired. He also yelled “kid” to other officers after seeing how young the shooter was.

By Carrie Newcomer, syndicated from Writing a Better Story


By Charles Bramesco, The Guardian: ‘All those agencies failed us’: inside the terrifying downfall of Boeing In the damning new Netflix documentary Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, the errors and oversights that led to two crashes are examined

By Adrienne Matei, The Guardian: Hums, honks and boops? That’s just fish chatting about sex and food New research reveals the staggering scale of underwater sound communication, starting with sturgeon 155m years ago

CNN: Artifacts reveal secrets of Stonehenge
By DAISY NGUYEN, AP News: Beekeepers using tracking devices to protect precious hives







NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day



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Just the Recipe: Paste the URL to any recipe, click submit, and it’ll return literally JUST the recipe- no ads, no life story of the writer, no nothing EXCEPT the recipe.
By Donnalteris: Sheepherder’s Bake
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By Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio, Taste of Home: Baki’s Old-World Cookies
By Cheryl Fenton, The Kitchn: This Recipe for Microwave Chocolate Cake Will Deliver Sweet Goodness in Just 10 Minutes




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