Ignatius of Antioch (35/50 – 98/117) – a disciple of the Apostle John who was also very good friends with Polycarp. He was the bishop of Antioch and his seven authentic letters were written rather hastily as he was being forcefully moved to Rome for persecution. These were likely written some time around 110 AD.
There exists a shorter and longer version of each of his letters. Some say the shorter versions are more authentic, others the longer. There aren’t any huge differences I noticed between the two other than a lot of scripture references are absent from the shorter versions. Whether these were removed from the original letters for the sake of brevity while copying by hand, or added later for the sake of clarity, nobody really knows. Either version is a worthwhile read and essentially contains the same message.
I included the shorter versions here on my website because I personally think that they are probably the originals. As mentioned above, these letters were written in haste when St Ignatius was on a forceful march to his death. I think they were probably gently edited in the proceeding centuries.
With that said, one of my largest target audiences with this website are those who are “Orthodox inquirers.” When I was inquiring, I wanted to read the original ancient documents, and not anything that had been “touched up” by a Church that I felt was possibly corrupt.
There are seven legit epistles by St Ignatius. Those I have included. The others out there that bear his name were probably not written by him. These seven epistles significantly impacted my thoughts about the early Church, and each of them are a fairly quick read.
Without further ado, here are the Epistles of St Ignatius of Antioch:
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to Polycarp
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Philadelphians
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Romans
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Trallians
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Magnesians
- The Epistle of St Ignatius to the Ephesians