Polycarp, who died at an old age in 156, was the bishop of Smyrna in
Asia Minor and represents the link between the apostolic fathers and the
Christian teachers of the second century. Iranaeus was a pupil of
Polycarp and writes that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John
had appointed him bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp was the last of those
acquainted personally with the disciples of Jesus and was instructed by
them. He had earned the respect of Christians everywhere. The church at
Smyrna remembers Polycarp as an apostolic and prophetic teacher.
John Foxe in his Book of Martyrs records the death of Polycarp in
this way: Polycarp, the venerable Bishop of Smyrna, hearing that persons
were seeking for him, escaped but was discovered by a child. After
feasting the guards that had apprehended him, he desired an hour in
prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency that his
guards repented that they had been instrumental in taking him. He was,
however, carried before the proconsul, condemned, and burnt in the
market place. The proconsul then urged him, saying, "swear, and I
will release you, - Curse Christ." Polycarp answered, "eighty
and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then
shall I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?" At the stake, to
which he was only tied but not nailed as usual, as he assured them he
should stand immovable, the flames on their kindling the fagots
encircled his body like an arch without touching him. The executioner on
seeing this was ordered to pierce him with a sword, when so great a
quantity of blood flowed out as extinguished the fire. But his body, at
the instigation of the enemies of the Gospel, especially the Jews, was
ordered to be consumed in the pile, and the request of his friends who
wished to give it Christian burial, rejected. They nevertheless
collected his bones and as much of his remains as possible, and cause
them to be decently interred.
The second of the seven churches of Revelation was Smyrna and
Polycarp would have been bishop at the time of the first reading of the
apocalypse. The Lord had known their works and tribulation and poverty
(but they were rich). They were to undergo tribulation but a promise of
the crown of life was held out to those who were faithful unto death.
Polycarp was given an opportunity in the arena to save himself by
denying Christ. The proconsul followed the procedure outlined by Pliny
and told Polycarp to say, "Away with the atheists" meaning the
Christians in the denial of the Roman gods. But Polycarp pointed to the
onlookers in the stadium and shouted "Away with the atheists."
Polycarp replied to the magistrate that the fire, which burns for an
hour, is not to be compared to the fire of eternal punishment. As the
flames began to consume him, he prayed: "I bless you that you
deemed me worthy of this day and hour." A life of selfless devotion
to service to God and man in the face of tribulation in exchange for the
crown of life. Many around the world experience this today.
Follows is the Epistle and the Martydom of Polycarp.
THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP
Translated by J.B. Lightfoot.
Polycarp prologue: 1
Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him unto the Church of God
which sojourneth at Philippi; mercy unto you and peace from God Almighty
and Jesus Christ our Savior be multiplied.
I rejoiced with you greatly in our Lord Jesus Christ, for that ye
received the followers of the true Love and escorted them on their way,
as befitted you--those men encircled in saintly bonds which are the
diadems of them that be truly chosen of God and our Lord;
and that the steadfast root of your faith which was famed from primitive
times abideth until now and beareth fruit unto our Lord Jesus Christ,
who endured to face even death for our sins, whom God raised, having
loosed the pangs of Hades; on whom,
though ye saw Him not, ye believe with joy unutterable and full of
glory; unto which joy many desire to enter in; forasmuch as ye know that
it is by grace ye are saved, not of works, but by the will of God
through Jesus Christ.
Wherefore gird up your loins and serve God in fear and truth, forsaking
the vain and empty talking and the error of the many, for that ye have
believed on Him that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave
unto him glory and a throne on His right hand; unto whom all things were
made subject that are in heaven and that are on the earth; to whom every
creature that hath breath doeth service; who cometh as judge of quick
and dead; whose blood God will require of them that are disobedient unto
Now He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also; if we do His
will and walk in His commandments and love the things which He loved,
abstaining from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil
speaking, false witness; not rendering evil for evil or railing for
railing or blow for blow or cursing for cursing;
but remembering the words which the Lord spake, as He taught; Judge
not that ye be not judged. Forgive, and it shall be forgiven to you.
Have mercy that ye may receive mercy. With what measure ye mete, it
shall be measured to you again; and again Blessed are the poor
and they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of God.
These things, brethren, I write unto you concerning righteousness, not
because I laid this charge upon myself, but because ye invited me.
For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the
wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he came among you
taught face to face with the men of that day the word which concerneth
truth carefully and surely; who also, when he was absent, wrote a letter
unto you, into the which if ye look diligently, ye shall be able to be
builded up unto the faith given to you,
which is the mother of us all, while hope followeth after and love goeth
before--love toward God and Christ and toward our neighbor. For if any
man be occupied with these, he hath fulfilled the commandment of
righteousness; for he that hath love is far from all sin.
But the love of money is the beginning of all troubles. Knowing
therefore that we brought nothing into the world neither can we carry
anything out, let us arm ourselves with the armor of righteousness, and
let us teach ourselves first to walk in the commandment of the Lord;
and then our wives also, to walk in the faith that hath been given unto
them and in love and purity, cherishing their own husbands in all truth
and loving all men equally in all chastity, and to train their children
in the training of the fear of God.
Our widows must be sober-minded as touching the faith of the Lord,
making intercession without ceasing for all men, abstaining from all
calumny, evil speaking, false witness, love of money, and every evil
thing, knowing that they are God's altar, and that all sacrifices are
carefully inspected, and nothing escapeth Him either of their thoughts
or intents or any of the secret things of the heart.
Knowing then that God is not mocked, we ought to walk worthily of His
commandment and His glory.
In like manner deacons should be blameless in the presence of His
righteousness, as deacons of God and Christ and not of men; not
calumniators, not double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all
things, compassionate, diligent, walking according to the truth of the
Lord who became a minister (deacon) of all. For if we be well pleasing
unto Him in this present world, we shall receive the future world also,
according as He promised us to raise us from the dead, and that if we
conduct ourselves worthily of Him we shall also reign with Him, if
indeed we have faith.
In like manner also the younger men must be blameless in all things,
caring for purity before everything and curbing themselves from every
evil. For it is a good thing to refrain from lusts in the world, for
every lust warreth against the Spirit, and neither whoremongers nor
effeminate persons nor defilers of themselves with men shall inherit the
kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things. Wherefore it is
right to abstain from all these things, submitting yourselves to the
presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ. The virgins must walk in a
blameless and pure conscience.
And the presbyters also must be compassionate, merciful towards all men,
turning back the sheep that are gone astray, visiting all the infirm,
not neglecting a widow or an orphan or a poor man: but providing always
for that which is honorable in the sight of God and of men, abstaining
from all anger, respect of persons, unrighteous judgment, being far from
all love of money, not quick to believe anything against any man, not
hasty in judgment, knowing that we all are debtors of sin.
If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought to
forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all
stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account
Let us therefore so serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He himself
gave commandment and the Apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the
prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of our Lord; being zealous
as touching that which is good, abstaining from offenses and from the
false brethren and from them that bear the name of the Lord in
hypocrisy, who lead foolish men astray.
For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of
the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of
the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is neither resurrection nor
judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan.
Wherefore let us forsake the vain doing of the many and their false
teachings, and turn unto the word which was delivered unto us from the
beginning, being sober unto prayer and constant in fastings, entreating
the all-seeing God with supplications that He bring us not into
temptation, according as the Lord said, The Spirit is indeed willing,
but the flesh is weak.
Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the
earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins
in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found
in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might
live in Him.
Let us therefore become imitators of His endurance; and if we should
suffer for His name's sake, let us glorify Him. For He gave this example
to us in His own person, and we believed this.
I exhort you all therefore to be obedient unto the word of righteousness
and to practice all endurance, which also ye saw with your own eyes in
the blessed Ignatius and Zosimus and Rufus, yea and in others also who
came from among yourselves, as well as in Paul himself and the rest of
being persuaded that all these ran not in vain but in faith and
righteousness, and that they are in their due place in the presence of
the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not the present
world, but Him that died for our sakes and was raised by God for us.
Stand fast therefore in these things and follow the example of the Lord,
being firm in the faith and immovable, in love of the brotherhood kindly
affectioned one to another, partners with the truth, forestalling one
another in the gentleness of the Lord, despising no man.
When ye are able to do good, defer it not, for Pitifulness delivereth
from death. Be ye all subject one to another, having your conversation
unblamable among the gentiles, that your good works both ye may receive
praise and the Lord may not be blasphemed in you.
But woe to him through whom the name of the Lord be blasphemed.
Therefore teach all men soberness, in which ye yourselves also walk.
I was exceedingly grieved for Valens, who aforetime was a presbyter
among you, because he is so ignorant of the office which was given unto
him. I warn you therefore that ye refrain from covetousness, and that ye
be pure and truthful. Refrain from all evil.
But he who cannot govern himself in these things, how doth he enjoin
this upon another? If a man refrain not from covetousness, he shall be
defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the Gentiles who know
not the judgment of the Lord, Nay, know we not, that the saints shall
judge the world, as Paul teacheth?
But I have not found any such thing in you, neither have heard thereof,
among whom the blessed Paul labored, who were his letters in the
beginning. For he boasteth of you in all those churches which alone at
that time knew God; for we knew Him not as yet.
Therefore I am exceedingly grieved for him and for his wife, unto whom
may the Lord grant true repentance. Be ye therefore yourselves also
sober herein, and hold not such as enemies but restore them as frail and
erring members, that ye may save the whole body of you. For so doing, ye
do edify one another.
For I am persuaded that ye are well trained in the sacred writings, and
nothing is hidden from you. But to myself this is not granted. Only, as
it is said in these scriptures, Be ye angry and sin not, and Let not the
sun set on your wrath. Blessed is he that remembereth this; and I trust
that this is in you.
Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal
High-priest Himself the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith
and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath and in
forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in purity;
and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us
with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our
Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father that raised him from the
Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings and powers and princes and
for them that persecute and hate you and for the enemies of the cross,
that your fruit may be manifest among all men, that ye may be perfect in
Ye wrote to me, both ye yourselves and Ignatius, asking that if any one
should go to Syria he might carry thither the letters from you. And this
I will do, if I get a fit opportunity, either I myself, or he whom I
shall send to be ambassador on your behalf also.
The letters of Ignatius which were sent to us by him, and others as many
as we had by us, we send unto you, according as ye gave charge; the
which are subjoined to this letter; from which ye will be able to gain
great advantage. For they comprise faith and endurance and every kind of
edification, which pertaineth unto our Lord. Moreover concerning
Ignatius himself and those that were with him, if ye have any sure
tidings, certify us.
I write these things to you by Crescens, whom I commended to you
recently and now commend unto you: for he hath walked blamelessly with
us; and I believe also with you in like manner. But ye shall have his
sister commended, when she shall come to you. Fare ye well in the Lord
Jesus Christ in grace, ye and all yours. Amen.
THE LETTER OF THE SMYRNAEANS - THE MARTYRDOM OF POLYCARP
Translated by J.B. Lightfoot.
Martyrdom of Polycarp: 1
The church of God which sojourneth at Smyrna to the Church of God which
sojourneth in Philomelium and to all the brotherhoods of the holy and
universal Church sojourning in every place; mercy and peace and love
from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 1:1
We write unto you, brethren, an account of what befell those that
suffered martyrdom and especially the blessed Polycarp, who stayed the
persecution, having as it were set his seal upon it by his martyrdom.
For nearly all the foregoing events came to pass that the Lord might
show us once more an example of martyrdom which is conformable to the
Martyrdom of Polycarp 1:2
For he lingered that he might be delivered up, even as the Lord did, to
the end that we too might be imitators of him, not looking only to that
which concerneth ourselves, but also to that which concerneth our
neighbors. For it is the office of true and steadfast love, not only to
desire that oneself be saved, but all the brethren also.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 2:1
Blessed therefore and noble are all the martyrdoms which have taken
place according to the will of God (for it behoveth us to be very
scrupulous and to assign to God the power over all things).
Martyrdom of Polycarp 2:2
For who could fail to admire their nobleness and patient endurance and
loyalty to the Master? seeing that when they were so torn by lashes that
the mechanism of their flesh was visible even as far as the inward veins
and arteries, they endured patiently, so that the very bystanders had
pity and wept; while they themselves reached such a pitch of bravery
that none of them uttered a cry or a groan, thus showing to us all that
at that hour the martyrs of Christ being tortured were absent from the
flesh, or rather that the Lord was standing by and conversing with them.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 2:3
And giving heed unto the grace of Christ they despised the tortures of
this world, purchasing at the cost of one hour a release from eternal
punishment. And they found the fire of their inhuman torturers cold: for
they set before their eyes the escape from the eternal fire which is
never quenched; while with the eyes of their heart they gazed upon the
good things which are reserved for those that endure patiently, things
which neither ear hath heard nor eye hath seen, neither have they
entered into the heart of man, but were shown by the Lord to them, for
they were no longer men but angels already.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 2:4
And in like manner also those that were condemned to the wild beasts
endured fearful punishments, being made to lie on sharp shells and
buffeted with other forms of manifold tortures, that the devil might, if
possible, by the persistence of the punishment bring them to a denial;
for he tried many wiles against them.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 3:1
But thanks be to God; for He verily prevailed against all. For the right
noble Germanicus encouraged their timorousness through the constancy
which was in him; and he fought with the wild beasts in a signal way.
For when the proconsul wished to prevail upon him and bade him have pity
on his youth, he used violence and dragged the wild beast towards him,
desiring the more speedily to obtain a release from their unrighteous
and lawless life.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 3:2
So after this all the multitude, marvelling at the bravery of the
God-beloved and God-fearing people of the Christians, raised a cry,
'Away with the atheists; let search be made for Polycarp.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 4:1
But one man, Quintus by name, a Phrygian newly arrived from Phrygia,
when he saw the wild beasts, turned coward. He it was who had forced
himself and some others to come forward of their own free will. This man
the proconsul by much entreaty persuaded to swear the oath and to offer
incense. For this cause therefore, brethren, we praise not those who
deliver themselves up, since the Gospel doth not so teach us.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 5:1
Now the glorious Polycarp at the first, when he heard it, so far from
being dismayed, was desirous of remaining in town; but the greater part
persuaded him to withdraw. So he withdrew to a farm not far distant from
the city; and there he stayed with a few companions, doing nothing else
night and day but praying for all men and for the churches throughout
the world; for this was his constant habit.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 5:2
And while praying he falleth into a trance three days before his
apprehension; and he saw his pillow burning with fire. And he turned and
said unto those that were with him: 'It must needs be that I shall be
Martyrdom of Polycarp 6:1
And as those that were in search of him persisted, he departed to
another farm; and forthwith they that were in search of him came up; and
not finding him, they seized two slave lads, one of whom confessed under
Martyrdom of Polycarp 6:2
for it was impossible for him to lie concealed, seeing that the very
persons who betrayed him were people of his own household. And the
captain of the police, who chanced to have the very name, being called
Herod, was eager to bring him into the stadium, that he himself might
fulfill his appointed lot, being made a partaker with Christ, while
they--his betrayers--underwent the punishment of Judas himself.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 7:1
So taking the lad with them, on the Friday about the supper hour, the
gendarmes and horsemen went forth with their accustomed arms, hastening
as against a robber. And coming up in a body late in the evening, they
found the man himself in bed in an upper chamber in a certain cottage;
and though he might have departed thence to another place, he would not,
saying, The will of God be done.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 7:2
So when he heard that they were come, he went down and conversed with
them, the bystanders marvelling at his age and his constancy, and
wondering how there should be so much eagerness for the apprehension of
an old man like him. Thereupon forthwith he gave orders that a table
should be spread for them to eat and drink at that hour, as much as they
desired. And he persuaded them to grant him an hour that he might pray
Martyrdom of Polycarp 7:3
and on their consenting, he stood up and prayed, being so full of the
grace of God, that for two hours he could not hold his peace, and those
that heard were amazed, and many repented that they had come against
such a venerable old man.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 8:1
But when at length he brought his prayer to an end, after remembering
all who at any time had come in his way, small and great, high and low,
and all the universal Church throughout the world, the hour of departure
being come, they seated him on an ass and brought him into the city, it
being a high Sabbath.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 8:2
And he was met by Herod the captain of police and his father Nicetes,
who also removed him to their carriage and tried to prevail upon him,
seating themselves by his side and saying, 'Why what harm is there in
saying, Caesar is Lord, and offering incense', with more to this effect,
'and saving thyself?' But he at first gave them no answer. When however
they persisted, he said, 'I am not going to do what ye counsel me.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 8:3
Then they, failing to persuade him, uttered threatening words and made
him dismount with speed, so that he bruised his shin, as he got down
from the carriage. And without even turning round, he went on his way
promptly and with speed, as if nothing had happened to him, being taken
to the stadium; there being such a tumult in the stadium that no man's
voice could be so much as heard.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 9:1
But as Polycarp entered into the stadium, a voice came to him from
heaven; 'Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man.' And no one saw the
speaker, but those of our people who were present heard the voice. And
at length, when he was brought up, there was a great tumult, for they
heard that Polycarp had been apprehended.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 9:2
When then he was brought before him, the proconsul enquired whether he
were the man. And on his confessing that he was, he tried to persuade
him to a denial saying, 'Have respect to thine age,' and other things in
accordance therewith, as it is their wont to say; 'Swear by the genius
of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the atheists.' Then Polycarp with
solemn countenance looked upon the whole multitude of lawless heathen
that were in the stadium, and waved his hand to them; and groaning and
looking up to heaven he said, 'Away with the atheists.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 9:3
But when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, 'Swear the oath, and
I will release thee; revile the Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Fourscore and
six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How
then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 10:1
But on his persisting again and saying, 'Swear by the genius of Caesar,'
he answered, 'If thou supposest vainly that I will swear by the genius
of Caesar, as thou sayest, and feignest that thou art ignorant who I am,
hear thou plainly, I am a Christian. But if thou wouldest learn the
doctrine of Christianity, assign a day and give me a hearing.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 10:2
The proconsul said; 'Prevail upon the people.' But Polycarp said; 'As
for thyself, I should have held thee worthy of discourse; for we have
been taught to render, as is meet, to princes and authorities appointed
by God such honor as does us no harm; but as for these, I do not hold
them worthy, that I should defend myself before them.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 11:1
Whereupon the proconsul said; 'I have wild beasts here and I will throw
thee to them, except thou repent' But he said, 'Call for them: for the
repentance from better to worse is a change not permitted to us; but it
is a noble thing to change from untowardness to righteousness'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 11:2
Then he said to him again, 'I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, if
thou despisest the wild beasts, unless thou repent.' But Polycarp said;
'Thou threatenest that fire which burneth for a season and after a
little while is quenched: for thou art ignorant of the fire of the
future judgment and eternal punishment, which is reserved for the
ungodly. But why delayest thou? Come, do what thou wilt.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:1
Saying these things and more besides, he was inspired with courage and
joy, and his countenance was filled with grace, so that not only did it
not drop in dismay at the things which were said to him, but on the
contrary the proconsul was astounded and sent his own herald to proclaim
three times in the midst of the stadium, 'Polycarp hath confessed
himself to be a Christian.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:2
When this was proclaimed by the herald, the whole multitude both of
Gentiles and of Jews who dwelt in Smyrna cried out with ungovernable
wrath and with a loud shout, 'This is the teacher of Asia, the father of
the Christians, the puller down of our gods, who teacheth numbers not to
sacrifice nor worship.' Saying these things, they shouted aloud and
asked the Asiarch Philip to let a lion loose upon Polycarp. But he said
that it was not lawful for him, since he had brought the sports to a
Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:3
Then they thought fit to shout out with one accord that Polycarp should
be burned alive. For it must needs be that the matter of the vision
should be fulfilled, which was shown him concerning his pillow, when he
saw it on fire while praying, and turning round he said prophetically to
the faithful who were with him, 'I must needs be burned alive.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 13:1
These things then happened with so great speed, quicker than words could
tell, the crowds forthwith collecting from the workshops and baths
timber and faggots, and the Jews more especially assisting in this with
zeal, as is their wont.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 13:2
But when the pile was made ready, divesting himself of all his upper
garments and loosing his girdle, he endeavored also to take off his
shoes, though not in the habit of doing this before, because all the
faithful at all times vied eagerly who should soonest touch his flesh.
For he had been treated with all honor for his holy life even before his
gray hairs came.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 13:3
Forthwith then the instruments that were prepared for the pile were
placed about him; and as they were going likewise to nail him to the
stake, he said; 'Leave me as I am; for He that hath granted me to endure
the fire will grant me also to remain at the pile unmoved, even without
the security which ye seek from the nails.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1
So they did not nail him, but tied him. Then he, placing his hands
behind him and being bound to the stake, like a noble ram out of a great
flock for an offering, a burnt sacrifice made ready and acceptable to
God, looking up to heaven said; 'O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Thy
beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the
knowledge of Thee, the God of angels and powers and of all creation and
of the whole race of the righteous, who live in Thy presence;
Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:2
I bless Thee for that Thou hast granted me this day and hour, that I
might receive a portion amongst the number of martyrs in the cup of
Christ unto resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and of body, in
the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among these
in Thy presence this day, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as Thou
didst prepare and reveal it beforehand, and hast accomplished it, Thou
that art the faithful and true God.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:3
For this cause, yea and for all things, I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I
glorify Thee, through the eternal and heavenly High-priest, Jesus
Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom with Him and the Holy Spirit be
glory both now [and ever] and for the ages to come. Amen.'
Martyrdom of Polycarp 15:1
When he had offered up the Amen and finished his prayer, the firemen
lighted the fire. And, a mighty flame flashing forth, we to whom it was
given to see, saw a marvel, yea and we were preserved that we might
relate to the rest what happened.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 15:2
The fire, making the appearance of a vault, like the sail of a vessel
filled by the wind, made a wall round about the body of the martyr; and
it was there in the midst, not like flesh burning, but like [a loaf in
the oven or like] gold and silver refined in a furnace. For we perceived
such a fragrant smell, as if it were the wafted odor of frankincense or
some other precious spice.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:1
So at length the lawless men, seeing that his body could not be consumed
by the fire, ordered an executioner to go up to him and stab him with a
dagger. And when he had done this, there came forth [a dove and] a
quantity of blood, so that it extinguished the fire; and all the
multitude marvelled that there should be so great a difference between
the unbelievers and the elect.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2
In the number of these was this man, the glorious martyr Polycarp, who
was found an apostolic and prophetic teacher in our own time, a bishop
of the holy Church which is in Smyrna. For every word which he uttered
from his mouth was accomplished and will be accomplished.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 17:1
But the jealous and envious Evil One, the adversary of the family of the
righteous, having seen the greatness of his martyrdom and his blameless
life from the beginning, and how he was crowned with the crown of
immortality and had won a reward which none could gainsay, managed that
not even his poor body should be taken away by us, although many desired
to do this and to touch his holy flesh.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 17:2
So he put forward Nicetes, the father of Herod and brother of Alce, to
plead with the magistrate not to give up his body, 'lest,' so it was
said, 'they should abandon the crucified one and begin to worship this
man'--this being done at the instigation and urgent entreaty of the
Jews, who also watched when we were about to take it from the fire, not
knowing that it will be impossible for us either to forsake at any time
the Christ who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of those
that are saved--suffered though faultless for sinners--nor to worship
Martyrdom of Polycarp 17:3
For Him, being the Son of God, we adore, but the martyrs as disciples
and imitators of the Lord we cherish as they deserve for their matchless
affection towards their own King and Teacher. May it be our lot also to
be found partakers and fellow-disciples with them.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 18:1
The centurion therefore, seeing the opposition raised on the part of the
Jews, set him in the midst and burnt him after their custom.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 18:2
And so we afterwards took up his bones which are more valuable than
precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable
Martyrdom of Polycarp 18:3
where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are
able, in gladness and joy, and to celebrate the birth-day of his
martyrdom for the commemoration of those that have already fought in the
contest, and for the training and preparation of those that shall do so
Martyrdom of Polycarp 19:1
So it befell the blessed Polycarp, who having with those from
Philadelphia suffered martyrdom in Smyrna--twelve in all--is especially
remembered more than the others by all men, so that he is talked of even
by the heathen in every place: for he showed himself not only a notable
teacher, but also a distinguished martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to
imitate, seeing that it was after the pattern of the Gospel of Christ.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 19:2
Having by his endurance overcome the unrighteous ruler in the conflict
and so received the crown of immortality, he rejoiceth in company with
the Apostles and all righteous men, and glorifieth the Almighty God and
Father, and blesseth our Lord Jesus Christ, the savior of our souls and
helmsman of our bodies and shepherd of the universal Church which is
throughout the world.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 20:1
Ye indeed required that the things which happened should be shown unto
you at greater length: but we for the present have certified you as it
were in a summary through our brother Marcianus. When then ye have
informed yourselves of these things, send the letter about likewise to
the brethren which are farther off, that they also may glorify the Lord,
who maketh election from His own servants.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 20:2
Now unto Him that is able to bring us all by His grace and bounty unto
His eternal kingdom, through His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, be
glory, honor, power, and greatness for ever. Salute all the saints. They
that are with us salute you, and Euarestus, who wrote the letter, with
his whole house.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 21:1
Now the blessed Polycarp was martyred on the second day of the first
part of the month Xanthicus, on the seventh before the calends of March,
on a great Sabbath, at the eighth hour. He was apprehended by Herodes,
when Philip of Tralles was high priest, in the proconsulship of Statius
Quadratus, but in the reign of the Eternal King Jesus Christ. To whom be
the glory, honor, greatness, and eternal throne, from generation to
Martyrdom of Polycarp 22:1
We bid you God speed, brethren, while ye walk by the word of Jesus
Christ which is according to the Gospel; with whom be glory to God for
the salvation of His holy elect; even as the blessed Polycarp suffered
martyrdom, in whose footsteps may it be our lot to be found in the
kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Martyrdom of Polycarp 22:2
This account Gaius copied from the papers of Irenaeus. The same lived
with Irenaeus who had been a disciple of the holy Polycarp. For this
Irenaeus, being in Rome at the time of the martyrdom of the bishop
Polycarp, instructed many; and many most excellent and orthodox
treatises by him are in circulation. In these he makes mention of
Polycarp, saying that he was taught by him. And he ably refuted every
heresy, and handed down the catholic rule of the Church just as he had
received it from the saint. He mentions this fact also, that when
Marcion, after whom the Marcionites are called, met the holy Polycarp on
one occasion, and said 'Recognize us, Polycarp,' he said in reply to
Marcion, 'Yes indeed, I recognize the firstborn of Satan.' The following
statement also is made in the writings of Irenaeus, that on the very day
and hour when Polycarp was martyred in Smyrna Irenaeus being in the city
of the Romans heard a voice as of a trumpet saying, 'Polycarp is
Martyrdom of Polycarp 22:3
From these papers of Irenaeus then, as has been stated already, Gaius
made a copy, and from the copy of Gaius Isocrates made another in
Martyrdom of Polycarp 22:4
And I Pionius again wrote it down from the copy of Isocrates, having
searched for it in obedience to a revelation of the holy Polycarp,
gathering it together, when it was well nigh worn out by age, that the
Lord Jesus Christ may gather me also with His elect into His heavenly
kingdom; to whom be the glory with the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
[17, 18, 22, 23, 338]