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Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Born: c. 50 A.D. in Province of Syria, Roman Empire
Died: Eusebius: c. 108 A.D.
Pervo: 135-140 A.D.
Barnes: 140s A.D.
in Rome, Roman Empire
Venerated: Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Assyrian Church of the East
Ancient Church of the East
Canonized: Pre-Congregation by John the Apostle (said in later writings)
Feast Day: October 17 (Roman Catholic and Syrian Christianity)
December 20 (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Patronages: Church in Eastern Mediterranean
Church in North Africa
Saint Ignatius was a convert to the Faith and a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. Saint John Chrysostom says that Saint Peter appointed him Bishop of Antioch, which See he governed for 40 years. The Saint longed to shed his blood for Christ, but the opportunity was not granted him during the persecution under Domitian.
While the short reign of Nerva lasted the Church was at peace, but under Trajan persecution broke out anew. In the year 107 the Emperor came to Antioch. Saint Ignatius was seized and brought before him. Having confessed Christ, he was condemned to be taken in chains to Rome, there to be exposed to the wild beasts. During this last journey he was welcomed by the faithful of Smyrna, Troas, and other places along the way.
He arrived in Rome just as the public spectacles in the amphitheater were drawing to a close. The faithful of the city came out to meet him. He was at once hurried to the amphitheater, where two fierce lions immediately devoured him. He ended his saintly life by a glorious death, exclaiming, “May I become agreeable bread to the Lord.” His remains were carried to Antioch, where they were interred. In the reign of Theodosius they were transferred to a church within the city. At present they are venerated in Rome.
During his long journey he addressed seven epistles to various congregations, in which, as a disciple of the Apostles, he testifies to the dogmatic character of Apostolic Christianity.