Friday, July 24, 2009

St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Time Period: 2nd Century (A.D. 70-156)
Position: Bishop of Smyrna
Location: Smyrna
Important works: Letter to the Philippians
Language: Greek

St. Polycarp is considered one of the Apostolic Fathers having been a hearer of St. John the Apostle. He is a contemporary of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He died a martyr in 156 A.D.

If I ever have a son, his middle name is Polycarp. He is one of my favorite saints because he's got attitude. According to St. Irenaeus, Polycarp called the heretic Marcion to his FACE that he is the "first-born of Satan." Nice.

Marcion was a gnostic heretic who rejected the Old Testament and all the gospels except Luke. Plus, he pretty much edited the rest of the Scriptures to his liking.

This reminds me of what Martin Luther tried to do more than a thousand years later.

There is a work called The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp (A.D. 155/157); the author is unknown. Here's some selections from this treasure...

When the Proconsul urged him and said, "Take the oath and I will release you; revile Christ," Polycarp answered; "Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He has never done me wrong. How, then, should I be able to blaspheme my King who has saved me?"

So much, then, for the Blessed Polycarp. Although he was, together with those from Philadelphia, the twelfth martyr in Symrna, he alone is especially remembered by all, and is spoken of in every place, even by the heathen...Now with the Apostles and all the just he is glorifying God and the Father Almighty, and he is blessing our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls, the Helmsman of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world.


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