Saint Polycarp

Saint Polycarp, What a blessedness it would be to sit at the feet of Apostles and hear the life of Jesus from their own lips? That’s exactly what Polycarp experienced in his youth. He was born in the first century into a family who received the Gospel from the very apostles of Jesus Christ. It is said he was the disciple of Apostle John along with Ignatius of Antioch. Polycarp was later was appointed as the bishop of Smyrna by some of the original apostles.

Birth: ~65 AD
Death: ~155 AD
Native Place: Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey)
Place of Vision: Smyrna

As a bishop, he faithfully guided his flock with apostolic zeal. He remained a strong fortress of faith to all the Christians in Asia Minor. Serving the Lord amidst the pagans and under a government that opposed Christianity requires immense courage and strength which Polycarp derived from his trust in God. With the Apostles gone, false teachers sprang up and controversies erupted regarding the order in the church.

Polycarp Martydom at Symrna

Amidst all, Polycarp had only one answer to his questioners “to imitate the life of Jesus.” He combated various heretical sects and worked hard to lead Christ’s flock away from the false teachings. Among his many letters, his letter to Philippians has been preserved which instructs and exhorts the believers to persevere in hope and patience.

When Marcus Aurelius became the emperor of Rome, he ordered the persecution of Christians. Polycarp was arrested by the Roman authorities who urged him to renounce his faith to save his life. Polycarp, however, stood firm in his faith and declared “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong… How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?” His confession of faith resulted in his martyrdom. He was burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense to the Roman emperor.

Beloved, are you bold enough to withstand any act of oppression and profess Christ?

Take Away from the article

“Lord, enable me to stand firm and give witness to my faith. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

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