Polycarp: A man, that in our time, would be looked upon as mad, had we seen him die so willingly for what he believed. I assume back then around 155 AD many thought him insane, and others stood in awe. The writings of his martyrdom and his personal writings demonstrates how much he believed and loved God. He walked his faith with courage. He would not deny Christ. The story of his martyrdom will follow momentarily for you to decide if he was mad or in love. I was impressed that he sat at the foot of St. John the Apostle as his study. I never really thought about who took over, after the apostles left the scene.
He fought heresies with his tongue (untruths, wrongful teachings), taught moral values, stressed perseverance in all things when it came to serving Christ. He was a Bishop of Smyrna (modern day Turkey) and wrote incredible Epistles (letters). He quoted teachings from our New Testament with such accuracy, before a Bible was even written in the 400s. Baptized as a baby, he grew up as a Christian and was one of the first to teach the people of the Church our traditions. He told the Church to respect and follow the bishops and priests teachings. This struck me as an interesting revelation.
His martyrdom is what also strikes me as miraculous, Gods love in motion. When they tried to burn him alive, the flames would not touch him, but go around him, eyewitnesses attested. His skin rather then melt, looked like gold or silver and the smell that filled the air was not rancid. Instead it was fragrant like incense, Frankincense. They had to pierce him with a sword so that he would die. He however only died in the flesh, his ultimate reward was to live, in heaven.
As quoted from the letter THE MARTYRDOM OF POLYCARP ..... But when they were about also to fix him with nails, he said, Leave me as I am; for He that gives me strength to endure the fire, will also enable me, without your securing me by nails, to remain without moving in the pile.
They did not nail him then, but simply bound him. And he, placing his hands behind him, and being bound like a distinguished ram [taken] out of a great flock for sacrifice, and prepared to be an acceptable burnt-offering unto God, looked up to heaven, and said,
O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before you, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs , in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before You as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as You, the ever-truthful God, have foreordained, have revealed beforehand to me, and now have fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.
His devotion and example is extraordinary. His letters, though not the Holy scripture, compliment very well what is written. See for yourself his writings, and compare if you are familiar with the Bible. If you aren't, maybe you could start reading today. May I suggest reading John first from an American Standard bible revised version-one of the many bible versions closest to the original scripture interpretations.
My question for you today- Would you die for what you believe in? St.Polycarp pray for us!
- Ontario, Canada
- I am a cradle Roman Catholic, that always had the knowledge of God. I, however, did not have a relationship with him and thus, was empty inside. Now through asking him to come into my life and going to prayer groups etc., I have had a renewal in my faith. Protestants may call it being "born-again". I now find what I thought was a BORING Mass to be the ultimate enjoyable experience that brings me closest to our Lord....besides of course Eucharistic Adoration, which is awe inspiring. The Church Fathers took me deeper into my faith which is when I came back completely-like a boomerang, thus my blog title. I understand why I am a Catholic/Christian. It is not just a religion. It IS God, it IS love. I might not be an English scholar and you might edit me in your head. But, I do have something to share and I hope you will join me on the journey and maybe discover something new to think about. Blessings+