Ignatius is one of the Apostolic fathers (early leaders in the church who knew the apostles). He is said to have been one of the children that Jesus blessed. He was born around the year 35 and died between 98 and 117. He is counted to be the third Bishop of Antioch (after St. Peter and St. Evodius who died in the year 67. It is said that he knew St. Peter and may have known St. John the Apostle, and it is said that St. Peter appointed him to the see of Antioch. Ignatius is most known to us for the letters he wrote on the way to Rome, where he was martyred by being partially consumed by lions. His remains are in Rome to this day, buried under St. Peter’s Basilica.
Ignatius wrote six letters to churches and one to a bishop. His letters emphasise loyalty to one Bishop per city, who is aided by his presbyters and deacons, the earliest letter to emphasise this. He called the Eucharist the medicine of immortality and looked forward to his martyrdom to be with Jesus face to face. St. Ignatius also is the first to emphasise celebrating the Lord’s day (although Acts 20:7-11 suggests the practice first) saying, “We fashion our lives after the Lord’s day.”
These letters are very important, because we have very little written information about this time in the churches history, guiding us in how we should imitate the primitive church.
For more see: http://www.searchgodsword.org/his/ad/ecf/ant/ignatius/ (note the first seven are those alleged to be genuine.)
Collect: Heavenly Father, as you raised up your servant Ignatius to be Bishop of Antioch and to suffer and die for his faith. Grant that we may gather more frequently to celebrate the Eucharist, sharing the medicine of immortality, and that we would follow the bishop, as Jesus followed the Father, follow the presbytery as we would follow the apostles, and respect the deacons as we respect God’s law. This we ask through our Lord and Saviour Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (red)