St Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of AntiochSt Ignatius was one of the most influential early Church Fathers that I encountered on my spiritual journey into Orthodoxy.  Here you can read his seven epistles written around 110 AD.  He was a friend of the apostles and he wrote a series of epistles to several of the churches that reveal that, contrary to popular modern beliefs, a hierarchy existed even in the early church.

The following text is from the Prologue of Ohrid:

This holy man is called “the God-bearer” because he constantly bore the name of the Living God in his heart and on his lips. According to [some] traditions, he was thus named because he was held in the arms of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and placed him among them, saying: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:4). This child was Ignatius.

Later, Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Theologian, together with Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius governed the Church of God as a good shepherd and was the first to introduce antiphonal chanting in the Church, in which two choirs alternate the chanting. This manner of chanting was revealed to St. Ignatius by the angels in heaven.

When Emperor Trajan was passing through Antioch on his way to do battle with the Persians, he heard of Ignatius, summoned him and counseled him to offer sacrifice to the idols. If Ignatius would do so, Trajan would bestow upon him the rank of senator. As the counsels and threats of the emperor were in vain, St. Ignatius was shackled in irons and sent to Rome in the company of ten merciless soldiers, to be thrown to the wild beasts. Ignatius rejoiced in suffering for his Lord, only praying to God that the wild beasts would become the tomb for his body and that no one would prevent him from this death.

After a long and difficult journey from Asia through Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus, Ignatius arrived in Rome, where he was thrown to the lions in the circus. The lions tore him to pieces and devoured him, leaving only several of the larger bones and his heart. This glorious lover of the Lord Christ suffered in the year 106 in Rome at the time of the Christ-hating Emperor Trajan. Ignatius has appeared many times from the other world and worked miracles, even to this day helping all who call upon him for help.

4 thoughts on “St Ignatius of Antioch

  1. Do we have any records of his miracles, especially those attributed to his relics? If so, where can I read more?

    1. Those are great questions, Christopher. Unfortunately, I don’t know about miracle stories. Perhaps try searching the internet or a Synaxarion for December.

      1. Hello Jeremiah. I have done so, and came up empty. In fact, yours is the only site I could find that mentioned about miracles veing attributed to him, “Ignatius has appeared many times from the other world and worked miracles, even to this day helping all who call upon him for help.” So I thought you might have a resource because of what you stated.

        1. Forgive me, Christopher. You are correct that I wrote that. Unfortunately, I was terrible at documenting my sources six years ago when I wrote the article. I have no idea where I got that, though I’m sure I read it somewhere. My apologies.

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