February 23, 2023

On the Illustrious Saint Polycarp (St. Jerome)

 By St. Jerome

(On Illustrious Men, 17)

Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna, was the leader of all Asia, where he saw and had as teachers some of the apostles and of those who had seen the Lord.

He, on account of certain questions concerning the day of the Passover, went to Rome in the time of the emperor Antoninus Pius, while Anicetus was bishop of the Church in that city. There he led back to the faith many of the believers who had been deceived through the persuasion of Marcion and Valentinus, and when Marcion met him by chance and said "Do you know us" he replied, "I know the firstborn of the devil."

Afterwards during the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus in the fourth persecution after Nero, in the presence of the proconsul holding court at Smyrna and all the people crying out against him in the Amphitheater, he was burned.

He wrote a very valuable Epistle to the Philippians which is read to the present day in the assemblies in Asia.

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