It, and an account of The Martyrdom of Polycarp that takes the form of a circular letter from the church of Smyrna to the churches of Pontusform part of the collection of writings Roman Catholics and some Protestants term "The Apostolic Fathers " to emphasize their particular closeness to the apostles in Church traditions.
Gateway to all our WebPages "Neither is Polycarps history life story salvation in any other: I have an old book in my study that says on its spine "Wake's Epistles. This book contains some of the history and letters of the post-Apostolic preachers and accounts to their suffering and martyrdom.
On page 52 there is a chapter on the martyrdom of Polycarp, pastor of the Church of Smyrna. Briefly, let me share with you the story of his life and his death.
Polycarp was born abound 70 A. He was sold as a slave in his childhood to a wealthy woman named Calisto. She reared him as her son. He came to know Christ as his Savior in those early years. As he grew older, he had the opportunity to study under the Apostle John and others who had personally sat under the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Polycarp was actively involved in serving the Lord in the Church of Smyrna. Upon the death of Calisto, he became heir to all of her estate. He used his inheritance to advance the cause of Christ and to help those who were in need. Polycarp faithfully ministered in that church for many years.
Persecution of Christians was the order of the day when Marcus Aurelius was the Emporer of Rome For many years Polycarp was spared. But, the full forced of persecution was unleashed on Polycarp in the later years of his ministry. Three days before he was arrested the Lord revealed to him in a dream that he would be burned at the stake.
When the soldiers came to get him, his friends insisted on hiding him. Polycarp made it clear that in the future, he would not all himself to be hidden. Soon the soldiers discovered where he had been taken.
When he saw them coming, he went out and greeted them warmly and offered them food. As they were eating, he requested that he be allowed to pray before they took him away. His request was granted.
For two hours he prayed fervently out loud and my book says, "inasmuch that many of the soldiers began to repent, that they were come out against so godly an old man. When he arrived, they sat him in a chariot and began to urge him to say the Caesar was God and offer a sacrifice to him.
They said, there is no harm in that is there? At first he refused to answer. Finally, after they continued to press him Polycarp said, "I shall not do what you would persuade me to.
They had confidently supposed that they would be able to easily persuade him to do what they wanted him to do. They became vicious in their words and actions. They literally threw him out of the chariot he had been sitting in, which cause serious injury to his thigh.
This display of force incited the blood thirsty mob to the point that they were so loud in their curses and jeers that no one could hear. As they were dragging Polycarp to the place of execution, a voice rang out from Heaven loud and clear, above the harangue of the crowd which said, "Be strong, Polycarp, and quit thyself like a man.
Hence, be strong and stand like a man to the end. To be sure, Polycarp stood for the Lord Jesus Christ to the end, despite all the efforts to persuade him to renounce Christ. One of the judges tried to get him to deny his faith by saying, "Reverence thy old age Swear by Casear's Fortune. Repent, and say; Take away the Wicked.
He said, "Sware, and I will set thee at liberty; reproach Christ. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior? The judge rejected the offer and threatened, "I have wild beasts ready, to those I will cast thee except thou repent.
For we Christians are fixed in our minds not to change from good to evil; But for me it will be good to be changed from Evil, to Good.The young Polycarp himself was one of his disciples, and in later life was fond of recalling his precious memories of the saint.” Polycarp served as bishop of Smyrna for some six decades, from the closing years of the first century to the mid-second century.
So Polycarp was a bishop, leader of a group of elders, but he purposely avoids bringing that up. Further, when he addresses the duties of church leaders, he addresses only deacons and elders, the only two offices that would have existed in one of Paul's churches (at least at this early date).
Polycarp served as the bishop of the church at Smyrna (modern day Izmir), and was recognized as one of the early combatants of Christian heresies. He rejected the teachings of Marcion, an influential heretic who tried to create a "new brand" of Christianity by redefining .
Pope Victor tried to establish uniformity, and when the Asiatic Churches refused to comply, excommunicated them. St. Irenæus remonstrated with him in a letter, part of which is preserved by Eusebius (Church History V), in which he particularly contrasted the moderation displayed in regard to Polycarp by Pope Anicetus with the conduct of Victor.
On page 52 there is a chapter on the martyrdom of Polycarp, pastor of the Church of Smyrna.
Briefly, let me share with you the story of his life and his death. Polycarp was born abound 70 A.D. Polycarp is a celebrated figure in the history of Christianity.
A direct pupil of the apostle John, Polycarp lived between 70 and A.D., connecting him to both the biblical apostles and the age of .