Feast of Saint Ignatius of Antioch
(ca. 35-107 A.D.)
St. Ignatius of Antioch was a Syrian who became a disciple of St. John the Apostle. Tradition holds that he was the infant whom Jesus took in his arms, saying, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me” as recounted in Mark’s Gospel. St. Ignatius was a pagan convert to Christianity and succeeded St. Peter the Apostle as the third bishop of Antioch, being ordained by St. Peter himself. He was an important Church Father of the Apostolic age, an ideal pastor, and a fearless soldier of Christ. He was tireless in supporting his flock against dangerous heresies and the terrors of the persecutions of the Roman Emperors. When Ignatius violated the imperial edict to worship false gods, he was arrested and led before Emperor Trajan. After boldly proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ, he was condemned to be devoured by wild beasts for public sport in the Roman Colosseum. On his journey from Syria to Rome he wrote many letters to his fellow Christians, encouraging them with his apostolic zeal and exhorting them to obey their bishops. He also pleaded that none try to obtain his release, as he was eager to lay down his life for Jesus, saying, “The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ.” He was devoured by lions in Rome in the early second century. St. Ignatius of Antioch is the first to have used the term “Catholic” Church, meaning “Universal.” His feast day is October 17th.
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You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God’s commandment.”
Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wheresoever Christ Jesus is, there is the catholic church.”
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop
by Br. John Paul Kern, O.P.
In the Nicene Creed we confess belief in “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” When we say that the Church is Apostolic we affirm not only that the Church was Apostolic in its origins but also that she is Apostolic because she preserves and lives the faith that Jesus entrusted to her through the Apostles and their successors [such as St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop of Antioch, whose memorial we celebrate today].
Credit: Adapted from an excerpt from Apostolic Faith by Br. John Paul Kern, O.P.|February 23, 2016, Dominicana Journal, https://www.dominicanajournal.org/apostolic-faith/ Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Our work is not in persuasion, for Christianity is most powerful when it is hated by the world.”
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop
Follow the saints, because those who follow them will become saints.”
Pope Saint Clement I
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop, martyr, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.