Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp of Smyrna – (69-155) – Martyr, Apostolic Church Father and Bishop of Smyrna, Writer, Preacher, Theologian – Patron against dysentery and earache.   Bishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Polycarp was martyred between 155 and 167.   His name means “much fruit”.HEADER - st polycarp

It is recorded by St Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.    Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

 

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.   The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians and a letter addressed to him by Ignatius of Antioch, he is known especially for the account of his martyrdom, the first such account to be written after the narrative of Stephen’s martyrdom in the Acts of the Apostles.   This extraordinary narrative was composed shortly after Polycarp’s death.   Many passages should be quoted here, like this one, where the governor invites Polycarp to curse Christ.   Here is the bishop’s response:

“For eighty six years I have been His servant and He has done me no wrong.   How can I blaspheme against my king and saviour?”   

 

This text is also the first one where we find a mention of the cult of relics and of the celebration of the anniversary of the martyrdom:  “Collecting the remains that were dearer to us than precious stones and finer than gold, we buried them in a fitting spot. Gathering there, so far as we can, in joy and gladness, we will be allowed by the Lord to celebrate the anniversary day of his martyrdom, both as a memorial for those who have already fought the contest and for the training and preparation of those who will do so one day.”

 

Last year’s post with more detail:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-of-smyrna/

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Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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