Monday, February 23, 2009

St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna in the 2nd Century. Little is know about him, except that he was a disciple of St. John, and that he suffered martyrdom for refusing to recant the Christian faith. When asked to recant his faith, he replied, “Eighty-six years have I served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my king who saved me.” Before being led to the stake he praised God for the privilege to be a martyr. After the pile of wood was lit he remained unharmed, surrounded by flames, yet unburned, and finally was stabbed to death. He is chiefly known for his Letter to the Philippians in which he describes apostolic faith. The Martyrdom of Polycarp, is considered to be authentic, and together with his letter to the Philippians are part of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.
Collect: Heavenly Father, who gave Polycarp courage and boldness to confess Yeshuah as Messiah, Saviour and Lord and to die for that faith, grant us courage, boldness and faith to imitate him that we may be willing to live and die for you. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who livers and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen

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