Feast of the day

SAINT POLYCARP Bishop, Martyr (+ 167)

2/23/2021 12:00:00 AM

Bishop, Martyr
(+ 167)

        St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John. He wrote to the Philippians, exhorting them to mutual love and refuting heresy. When the apostate, Marcion, met St. Polycarp at Rome, St. Polycarp associated heresy with Satan. 

        In 167 AD, a persecution erupted in Smyrna. When Bp. Polycarp heard his pursuers at the door, he resigned himself to the will of God, saying, "Not my will, but your will be done" (Lk. 22:42).

        After his arrest, Bp. Polycarp was offered freedom in exchange for cursing Christ. He replied, "Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" When threatened with fire, Polycarp told the proconsul, "Your fire lasts only a little, but the fire prepared for the wicked lasts forever."

        During immolation, Bp. Polycarp was unharmed by the fire. He was then stabbed in the heart, and his dead body was burnt. The writers of his acts say, "we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!"