The story of St. Polycarp is such an inspirational one. He stood so firmly in his faith in the face of great danger and death. This early Christian is a saint for everyone.
Disciple of St. John
Polycarp was a disciple of St. John, the bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch in the 1st century. He battled heresy and is famous for his discussion of the date of Easter with the Pope (It surprisingly was a very hot-button issue!). Polycarp was also immovable in his devotion to the the truth of apostolic teaching. He was known to be a holy man and the authorities persecuted him.
At the time, the authorities captured Christians and took them to the arena where wild animals attacked and killed them. The crowds demanded Polycarp be brought to suffer, so Polycarp fled to a nearby farm where he devoted himself to prayer.
An Example of Prayer & Trust
He was eventually discovered, while praying, but before being led away, he offered his captors a meal and asked them if he could have an hour to pray before he was taken (what a man!?).
They took him to the arena at 86 years old and they tried to persuade him to recant. He told them plainly: “I am a a Christian”. They attempted to burn him alive, but the flames didn’t harm him, so they stabbed him to death. His blood supposedly put the fire out. His feast day is celebrated on February 23 and you can read more about him here.
Polycarp was a disciple of St. John and the Bishop of Smyrna. He was hunted by authorities for being a Christian, and went with his captors willingly, after offering them a meal and asking for time to pray. He boldly told the crowd he was a Christian and they attempted to burn him at the stake, but he was untouched. They then stabbed him to death and his blood put out the fire.
Who would be friends with St. Polycarp?
- The elderly
- Scouts (they surely want a safe fire while camping, right?)
- Those facing persecution
“Hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian”.St. Polycarp
Check out this amazing marty’rs collection on our website.