Friday, October 17, 2008

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

part of frieze at St. Ignatius of Antioch. c.1930. Cleveland, O. A church that survived, on appeal, in 2009, a suppression by the diocesan ordinary.
The icon supra, is of the manner of martyrdom of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Now, the first bishop of Antioch, was Saint Peter the Apostle. Antioch was the papal see, til the time Peter went to Rome in 42. Saint Evodius was bishop next, and Saint Ignatius thereafter, both men appointed by Peter, and disciples of Peter and John. Ignatius was also known as Theophorus. He was an early apostolic father, and he introduced antiphonal singing at mass.

When Ignatius, was bishop (and patriarch) of Antioch for about forty years, he was taken as a prisoner, from Syria, to be executed in the Flavian amphitheatre in Rome, for the blood lust of Trajan, whom he had presented himself to, when Trajan was in Antioch. Trajan began the interview with Ignatius, “Who are you, (unlucky) wicked wretch, who set yourself to transgress our commands, and persuade others to do the same, so that they should miserably perish?” Ignatius gave a defense of the faith, and Trajan pronounced, “We command that Ignatius, who affirms that he carries about within him, Him that was crucified, be bound by soldiers, and carried to the great Rome, there to be devoured by the beasts, for the gratification of the Romans ”. Along the way, he wrote several letters. In one, he willingly welcomes his martyrdom. In Smyrna, recommendations, and influence, could have freed him. He did not want the interference. He died in this manner 17 November 107.

I am the wheat of God, and I am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts ... May I have joy of the wild beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray they will exercise all their ferocity on me. I will entice them to devour me promptly ... If they will not do it willingly, I will force them to it.
Ignatius, has the oldest surviving written usage of the word ‘catholic’ to describe the true church, which was founded by Christ our Lord. Ignatius fervently believed in the Eucharist, the Incarnation and communion with Jesus, in this life and the next:
He who really possesses the word of Jesus can truly hear His silence, that he maybe perfect.

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