Tag Archives: St Polycarp


St Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr; Memorial: February 23

From the book on the Ecclesiastical Writers by St Jerome, Priest

Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, who appointed him Bishop of Smyrna, was venerated as the head of all Asia, because he had seen and had for teachers some of the apostles and those who had seen the Lord.

He went to Rome during the reign of the emperor Antonius Pius, and in the pontificate of Anicetus, about certain questions regarding the date of Easter.

While there, he brought back to the faith several believers who had been misled by the teaching of Marcion and Valentine. On a certain occasion, he chanced to meet Marcion, who said to him: “Do you know us?” Polycarp replied: “Yes, I know you as the first-born of the devil.”

But some time after the reign of Marcus Antonius and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, in the fourth persecution after Nero, he was condemned to the flames at Smyrna, in the amphitheatre before the pro-consul on his seat and with all the people clamouring against him. He wrote a very useful letter to the Philippians, which is still read in the congregations of Asia.


O God, who gladden us with the yearly festival of blessed Polycarp, your Martyr and Bishop, mercifully grant that as we venerate the anniversary of his martyrdom, we may also rejoice in his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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“Jesus says to his friends in the boat who were terrified at the storm, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’ Let us prayerfully reflect on what some holy people have written about faith:

• Faith is the ear of the soul. (St Clement of Alexandria)

• Just as the mere memory of fire does not warm the body, so also faith without love doesn’t produce the light of knowledge in the soul. (St Maximus the Confessor)

• Without faith, every human labour is empty. (St Fulgence of Ruspe)

• I may love by halves, I may obey by halves; I cannot believe by halves: either I have faith, or I have it not. (Blessed John Henry Newman)

• The spiritual quest is a continuous act of faith, a faith that spiritual experience is the most real thing in human life and that all other categories of experience are subordinate to the fact of God. (Martin Israel – priest and spiritual director)

• Faith is the union of God with the soul. (St John of the Cross)

• What is required of you is faith and a sincere life, not loftiness and intellect of deep knowledge of the mysteries of God. (Thomas a Kempis – spiritual writer)

• Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. (St Augustine of Hippo)

• Faith is a beam radiating from the face of God. (St John Dudes)

• God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ increase us in faith and truth and gentleness. (Prayer of St Polycarp)”

– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris” / June 2015


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