St. Polycarp of Smyrna

quotes from Polycarp of Smyrna→

Polycarp was an early Bishop of Smyrna, a Church Father, and one of the three main Apostolic Fathers, along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch. His name means “much fruit” in Greek. Both Irenaeus (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III.3) and Tertullian (Tertullian, De praescriptione hereticorum 32.2) say that Polycarp had been a disciple of John the Apostle.  Irenaeus also says that he himself had been a hearer of Polycarp. Irenaeus reports that Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a presbyter, and communicated with many who had seen Jesus.  According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to consume his body.  The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians is the sole surviving work of Polycarp and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp is considered one of the earliest genuine accounts of a Christian martyrdom.

Quotes & Excerpts:

“In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since every lust wars against the spirit; 1 Peter 2:11 and neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 5

“Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ. The virgins also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 5

“Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:16 for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He has set us this example 1 Peter 2:21 in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 8

“I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as you have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run Philippians 2:16; Galatians 2:2 in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 9

“Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord. . . When you can do good, defer it not, because alms delivers from death. Tobit 4:10, Tobit 12:9 Be all of you subject one to another 1 Peter 5:5 having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles, that you may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed! Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 10

“The Epistles of Ignatius written by him to us, and all the rest [of his Epistles] which we have by us, we have sent to you, as you requested. They are subjoined to this Epistle, and by them you may be greatly profited; for they treat of faith and patience, and all things that tend to edification in our Lord.”
-Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch. 13

“For neither can I nor anyone like me match the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul. When he was among you, face to face with the men of that time, he expounded the word of truth accurately and authoritatively; and when he was absent he wrote letters to you, the study of which will enable you to build yourselves up in the faith which was given to you…”
-Letter to the Philippians 3:1. (Written in 135 A.D.)

“Everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an antichrist, whoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whoever perverts the sayings of the Lord for his own desires, and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, is the firstborn of Satan.
Let us, therefore, forsake the foolishness and false teachings of the crowd and return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning.”
– Letter to the Philippians 7:1. (Written 135 A.D.)

“Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; staying awake in prayer, and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God ‘not to lead us into temptation,’ as the Lord has said:
‘The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).”
– Letter to the Philippians 7 (Written 135 A.D.)

“Jesus Christ), who is coming as judge of the living and the dead, for whose blood God will hold responsible those who disobey him…
But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; not rendering evil for evil.
-Letter to the Philippians Chap. 2 (Written in 135 A.D.)

“Let the presbyters be compassionate, merciful to all, bringing back those who wandered astray, visiting those who are sick, neglecting neither widow nor orphan nor the poor, but providing what is good in the sight of God and of men.”
– Letter to the Philippians 6:1
(Written 135 A.D.)

“I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance!
And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and do not regard such people as enemies, but, as sick and straying members, restore them, in order that you may save your whole body.
For by doing so you build up one another.
– Letter to the Philippians 11:4
(Written 135 A.D.)

“And of the elect, he is one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher,
Bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna.
For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled.”
– The Martyrdom of St Polycarp 16:2 (Written 155 A.D.)

“The blessed Polycarp, although he was, together with those from Philadelphia, the twelfth martyr in Smyrna, he alone is especially remembered by all… He was not only a famous teacher, but also an outstanding witness, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate…
Now, with the Apostles and all the just, he is glorifying God the Father Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world.’
-The Martyrdom of Polycarp 19:1 (Written in 155 A.D.)

“When the Proconsul urged him:
Take oath and I will release you; revile Christ and you will be freed.’ Polycarp answered him:
Eighty-six years I have served Him and He has never done me harm.
How, then, could I blaspheme my
King who saved me?”
-The Martyrdom of Polycarp (155 A.D.)

“When Polycarp had.. finished his prayer, those who were appointed kindled the fire.
As the flame blazed forth in great fury. we beheld a great miracle. For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship filled with wind, encompassed the body of the martyr…
Moreover, we perceived a sweet odor, as if frankincense or some precious spices had been smoking there.”
-The Martyrdom of Polycorp (155 A.D.)