St. Justin was born of Greek parents in Samaria about a.d. 103. From his youth he studied Greek philosophy, including the teachings of the Stoics, the Peripatetics, the Pythagoreans, and the Platonists, for he was seeking true wisdom. When St. Justin saw Christians martyred, he was amazed and impressed, and then met an old man who introduced the faith to him. He converted when nearly 30 in Ephesus in about a.d. 130.
St. Justin traveled the world in his philosopher’s robes preaching the Gospel of Christ and finally settled in Rome, where he argued with other philosophers. St. Justin wrote an Apologia for the Christians and convinced the Roman Emperor Antoninus (who ruled from a.d. 138 to 161) to stop the persecution of Christians. St. Justin wrote many works on the Faith, using his philosophical talents, but most have been lost to us in the intervening years. He was very influential in early Christianity. When Antoninus died, he was succeeded by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who began the persecution of Christians anew. St. Justin was denounced and died a martyr, poisoned in prison in between a.d. 162 and 168.