Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts, Virtual Exhibition: Daily Life
Order to arrest a Christian: 28 February, AD 256
An order from the head of the council of Oxyrhynchus to the police officers in a country village to arrest a man described as a Christian (lines 4-5). No reason for the arrest is given; we cannot assume that we are looking at evidence for persecution, although this is possible. A period of Christian persecution was instituted under the emperor Valerian in AD 257 and 258.
This is one of the earliest uses of the word Christian on a papyrus. Seventy years later, it would no longer have been dangerous to admit to being a Christian.
The Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol.XLII no.3035