Tuesday, March 8, 2011

St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Joyous feast! St. Polycarp was born around 69 AD to one of the early families converted to Christianity and was taught the Faith by the Apostles themselves. He consequently became a priest and became known by the name we know him by, which means "fruitful," after his prayers helped end a drought in the region. He later went on to be appointed Bishop of Smyrna by the Apostles themselves and to be martyred for his faith in Christ. More on his life can be found here. An ancient account of his martyrdom can be found here.

St. Polycarp is particularly dear to me both because of his life and because one of my grandfathers had a veneration for him, although admittedly only the sort of veneration that a Dutch Reformed pastor can have for a dead man :-). St. Polycarp is called the "beloved peacemaker" by some because of the inherent peacefulness and calm underlying all his actions (when the time came for him to be martyred, for example, he invited his murderers to eat with him and later did not need to be tied to the stake when he was set alight) and I think it may have been this that drew my grandfather to him as I'm told he was a very peaceful man himself.

May St. Polycarp's blessing and prayers be with us all!

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