St. Ignatius of Antioch

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St. Ignatius, Bishop and Martyr

St. Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostles, but more particularly of St. John, lived in the first century of the Christian Era. His surname was Theophorus–that is, a man who carries God in his heart. That he was a man of great piety is evident from the fact that he became Bishop of the city in which St. Peter had first established his See, in which he was succeededby St. Evodius. I speak of Antioch, where the believers, heretofore called “disciples,” first received the name of “Christians.” For forty years this holy Bishop presided over the Church of Antioch, with so much wisdom and such unceasing solicitude, that he not only became widely known, but his counsel, on many occasions, was sought by all the Bishops in Syria. At the time of the persecution of Domitian, he remained with his flock, exhorting them to continue steadfast in the true Faith; but, for himself, he desired nothing so much as to shed his blood for Christ’s sake. Besides firmness in faith, he most earnestly preached to those committed to his charge obedience to the Bishops and Priests and the avoidance of heretics. “Be obedient to the Priests and Bishops,” said he, “but shun the heretics as wild beasts, that approach unawares, and wound you in such a manner that you cannot be easily healed.” Continue reading