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Category:Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Martyred in 107, Memorial on October 17
Born: ca. 35 in a Province of Syria, Roman Empire
Died: ca. 108 in Rome, Roman Empire
Honored in: Oriental Orthodox Churches, Eastern Christianity, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism
Major shrine: Basilica of San Clemente, Rome, Italy
Feast: Eastern Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Indian Orthodox Church: December 20 (January 2nd in the Julian calendar), Western and Syrian Christianity: October 17
General Roman Calendar, 12th century to 1969: February 1
Attributes: a bishop surrounded by lions or in chains
Patronage: Church in eastern Mediterranean; Church in North Africa
Ignatius' feast day is observed on December 20 in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, he is commemorated, according to its Synaxarium, on the 24th of the Coptic Month of Kiahk (which currently falls on January 2, but is equivalent to December 20 in the Gregorian Calendar due to the current 13-day Julian-Gregorian Calendar offset). In Western and Syriac Christianity his feast is celebrated on October 17.
Excerpt from Lives of the Saints, 1894
ST. IGNATIUS, Bishop, Martyr.
ST. IGNATIUS, Bishop of Antioch, was the disciple of St. John. When Domitian persecuted the Church, St. Ignatius obtained peace for his own flock by fasting and prayer. But for his part he desired to suffer with Christ, and to prove himself a perfect disciple. In the year 107, Trajan came to Antioch, and forced the Christians to choose between apostasy and death. "Who art thou, poor devil," the emperor said when Ignatius was brought before him, "who settest our commands at naught?" "Call not him 'poor devil,'" Ignatius answered, "who bears God within him." And when the emperor questioned him about his meaning, Ignatius explained that he bore in his heart Christ crucified for his sake. Thereupon the emperor condemned him to be torn to pieces by wild beasts at Rome. St. Ignatius thanked God, Who had so honored him, "binding him in the chains of Paul, His apostle."
He journeyed to Rome, guarded by soldiers, and with no fear except of losing the martyr's crown. He was devoured by lions in the Roman amphitheatre. The wild beasts left nothing of his body, except a few bones, which were reverently treasured at Antioch, until their removal to the Church of St. Clement at Rome, in 637. After the martyr's death, several Christians saw him in vision standing before Christ, and interceding for them.
Reflection.—Ask St. Ignatius to obtain for you the grace of profiting by all you have to suffer, and rejoicing in it as a means of likeness to your crucified Redeemer.
----Excerpt from Lives of the Saints, 1894
by Alban Butler, Benziger Brothers edition, 1894