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PROLOGUE he chu rch of God which so jou rneth at Smyrna to the Chu rch of God whi ch sojou rneth in Philomeliu m and to all the brotherhoods o f the holy and u niversal Chu rch sojou rning in every place; mercy and peace and love from God the Father and ou r Lord Jesu s Christ be mu lt iplied.
CHAPT ER 1 1 We write u nto you , brethren, an a ccou nt of what befell those that su ffered martyrdom and especially the blessed Polycarp, who stayed the persecu tion, having as it were set his seal u pon it by his ma rtyrdom. For nearly all the foregoing events came to pass that the Lord might sho w u s once more an exa mple of martyrdom which is confor m a ble to the Gospel 2 For he lingered that he might be delivered u p, even as the Lord did, to the end that we too might be i mita tors of hi m, not loo k ingonly to tha t which concerneth ou rselves, bu t a lso to that which co ncerneth ou r neighbors. For it is the office of tru e a nd steadfast love, not only to desire that onesel f be saved, bu t all the brethren also. CHAPT ER 2 1 Blessed therefore and noble are a ll the martyrdoms which have ta k en pla ce according to the will of God (for it behoveth u s to be very scru pu lou s and to assign to God the power over all things). 2 For who cou ld fail to a dmire their
nobleness and patient endu rance a nd loyalty to the Master? se eing that when they were so torn by lashes that the mechanism o f their flesh was visible even as far as the i nward veins and arteries, they e ndu red patiently, so that the very bystanders had pi ty and wept; while they themselves reached su ch a pitch of bravery that none of them u ttered a cry or a groan, thu s sho wing to u s all that at that hour the martyrs of Christ being tortured were absent from the flesh, or rather that the Lord was standing by and conversing with them. 3 And giving heed u nto the grace of Christ they despised the to rtu res of this world, purchasing at the cost of one hou r a release from eternal p u nishment. An d they fou nd the fire of their inhu man torturers cold: for they set b efore their eyes the e sca pe from the eternal fire which is never qu enched; while with the ey es o f their heart they gazed u pon the good things which are reserved for those that endure patiently, things which neither ear hath heard nor eye hath seen, neither have they entered into the heart of man, but were shown by the Lord to them, for they were no longer men bu t angels a lready. 4 And in lik e manner also those that were condemned to th e wild beasts endu red fearfu l pu nishments, being made to lie on sharp shel ls and bu ffeted with other forms o f manifold tortures, that the devil might, if possible, by the persi stence o f the pu nishment bring them to a denial; for he tried many wiles
a ga inst them. CHAPT ER 3 1 Bu t thank s be to God; for He v erily prevailed against all. For the right noble Germanicu s e ncou raged their timorou sness throu gh the co nsta ncy which was in him; and he fou ght with the wild beasts in a si gna l wa y. For when the proconsu l wished to prevail u pon him and bade him ha ve pity on his youth, he u sed violence and dragged the wild beast towa rds him, desiring the more speedily to obtain a release from their u nright eou s and lawless life. 2 So after this all the mu ltitu de, ma rvelling at the bravery of the God-beloved and God-fearing people of the Christians, raised a cry, 'Away with the atheists; let sea rch be made for Polycarp.' CHAPT ER 4 1 Bu t one man, Qu intu s by name, a Phrygian newly arrived from Phr ygia , when he saw the wild beasts, tu rned coward. He it was who had forced himself and so me others to come for ward of their own free will. T his man the proconsu l by mu ch e ntrea ty persu aded to swear the oath a nd to offer incense. For this cau se therefore, brethren, we praise not those who deliver themselves u p, since the Gospel doth not so teach u s. CHAPT ER 5 1 Now the gloriou s Pol ycarp at the first, when he heard it, so far from being dismayed, was d esirou s of rema ining in town; bu t the greater pa rt persuaded him to wit hdraw. So he withdrew to a farm not far di sta nt from the city; and there he
stayed with a few companions, doing nothing else night and day bu t pra ying for all men and for the chu rches throu ghou t the world; for this was his constant habit. 2 And while praying he fa lleth into a trance three days before his a pprehension; and he saw his pillow bu rning with fire. And he tu rned and said u nto those that were with him: 'It mu st needs be that I shall be bu rned alive.' CHAPT ER 6 1 And as those that were in search of him persisted, he d eparted to another farm; and fort hwith they that were in search of him came u p; and not finding him, th ey seized t wo slave lads, one of whom co nfessed u nder torture; 2 for it was impossible for him to lie concealed, seeing that the very persons who betrayed him were people of his o wn hou sehold. And the ca ptain of the pol ice, who chanced to have the very name, b eing called Herod, was eager to bring him into the stadiu m, that he hi mself might fu lfill his appointed lot, being made a partak er with Christ, while they—his betrayers— u nderwent the pu nishment of Ju das himself. CHAPT ER 7 1 So tak ing the lad with them, on the Friday abou t the su pper hour, the gendarmes and horsemen went forth with their accu stomed arms, hastening as against a robber. And coming u p in a body late in the evening, they fou nd the man himself in bed in an u pper chamber in a ce rtain cottage; and thou gh he might have departed thence to another
pla ce, he wou ld not, saying, T he will of God be done. 2 So when he heard that they were come, he went down and co nversed with them, the bystanders marve lling at his age and his constancy, a nd wondering ho w there shou ld be so mu ch eagerness for the apprehe nsion o f an old man lik e him. T h ereu pon forthwith he gave orders that a ta ble shou ld be spread for them to ea t a nd drink at that hour, as mu ch a s they desired. And h e persu aded them to grant him an hou r that he might pray u nmolested; 3 a nd on their consenting, he stood u p a nd prayed, being so fu ll of the gra ce of God, that for two hou rs he cou ld not hold his peace, and those tha t heard were amazed, and many repented that they had come against su ch a venerable old man. CHAPT ER 8 1 Bu t when at length he brou ght his pra yer to an end, after remembering a ll who at any time had come in his wa y, small and great, high and low, a nd a ll the u niversal Church throu ghout the wor ld, the hou r of depa rtu re being come, they seated him on an ass and brou ght him into the city, it being a high Sabbath. 2 And he was met by Herod the ca pta in of police and his father N icetes, who also removed him to their ca rriage and tried to prevail u pon him, sea ting themselves by his side a nd saying, 'Why what harm is there in saying, Caesar is Lord, and offering incen se', with more to this effect, 'and saving thy self?' Bu t he a t first gave them no answer. When howev er they persi sted, he said, 'I a m not going to do what ye cou nsel me.'
3 T hen they, failing to pe rsuade him, u ttered threatening words and made him dismou nt with sp eed, so that he bru ised his shin, as he got down fro m the carriage. And wit hou t even tur ning rou nd, he went on his way promptly and with speed, as if nothing had happened to him, b eing tak en to the stadiu m; there b eing su ch a tu mu lt in the stadiu m that no man's voice cou ld be so mu ch as heard. CHAPT ER 9 1 Bu t as Polycarp entered into the sta diu m, a voice came to him from heaven; 'Be strong, Polycarp, a nd play the man.' And no one saw the speak er, bu t those of ou r people who were present h eard the voice. And at length, when h e was brou ght u p, there was a great tu mu lt, for they heard that Polycarp had been apprehended. 2 When then he was brou ght before him, the proconsu l enquired whether he were the man. And on his co n fessing that he was, he tried to pe rsu ade him to a denial sa ying, 'Ha ve respect to thine age,' and other things in a ccordance therewith, as it is their wont to say; 'S wear by the geniu s of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the atheists.' T hen Pol ycarp with solemn cou ntenance look ed u pon the whole mu ltitu de of lawless heathen that were in the st a diu m, and waved his hand to them; and groaning and look ing u p to hea ven he said, 'Away with th e ath eists.' 3 Bu t when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, 'Swear the oath, and I will release thee; revile the Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Fou rscore and six years have I been His se r-
va nt, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?' CHAPT ER 1 0 1 Bu t on his persisting again and sa ying, 'Swear by the geniu s of Ca esa r,' he answered, 'If th ou su pposest va inly that I will swear by the g eniu s of Caesar, as thou sayest, and feigne st that thou art ignorant who I a m, hear thou plainly, I am a Chri stia n. Bu t if thou wou ldest learn the doctrine of Christianity, assign a da y a nd give me a hearing.' 2 T he proconsu l said; 'Pr evail u pon the people.' Bu t Pol ycarp said; 'As for thysel f, I shou ld have held th ee worthy of discou rse; for we have been ta u ght to render, as is meet, to princes and au thorities a ppointed by God su ch honor as does u s no harm; bu t a s for these, I do not hold them worthy, that I shou ld d efend myself before them.' CHAPT ER 11 1 Whereu pon the pr oconsu l said; 'I ha ve wild beasts here and I will throw thee to them, except thou r epent' Bu t he said, 'Call for them: for the repentance from better to worse is a change not permitted to u s; bu t it is a noble thing to change from u ntowa rdness to righteou sness' 2 T hen he said to him again, 'I will ca u se thee to be consu med by fire, if thou despisest the wild beasts, u nless thou repent.' Bu t Polycarp said; 'T hou threatenest that fire which bu rneth for a season and after a li ttle while is qu enched: for thou art ignora nt of the fire of the fu tu re ju dgment and eternal pu nishment, which is reserved for the u ngodly. Bu t why delayest thou? Come, do
what thou wilt.' CHAPT ER 1 2 1 Saying these things and more b esides, he was inspired with cou ra ge and joy, and his cou ntenance was filled with grace, so that not only did it not drop in dismay at the things which were said to him, bu t on the co ntrary the proconsu l was astou nded and sent his own he rald to proclaim three times in the midst of the sta diu m, 'Polycarp hath confessed him sel f to be a Christian.' 2 When this was pr oclaimed by the herald, the whole mu ltitu de both of Gentiles and of Jews who d welt in Smyrna cried ou t with u ngovernable wrath and with a lou d shout, 'T his is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the pu ller down of ou r gods, who teacheth nu mbers not to sacrifice nor worship.' Saying these things, they shou ted alou d and ask ed the Asiarch Philip to let a lion loose u pon Polycarp. Bu t he said that it was not la wfu l for him, since he had brou ght the sports to a close. 3 T hen they thou ght fit to shou t out with one accord that Pol ycarp shou ld be bu rned alive. For it mu st needs be that the matter of the v ision shou ld be fu lfilled, which was shown him concerning his pillow, when he saw it on fire while pra ying, and turning rou nd he said pr ophetically to the faithfu l who were with him, 'I mu st needs be bu rned alive.' CHAPT ER 1 3 1 T hese things then ha ppened with so great speed, qu ick er than words cou ld tell, the crowds forthwith co llecting from the work shops a nd baths timber and faggots, and the
Jews more esp ecially assisting in this with zeal, as is their wont. 2 Bu t when the pile was made rea dy, divesting himself of all his u pper garments and loosing his gi rdle, he endeavored also to tak e off his shoes, thou gh not in the habit of doing this before, becau se all the fa ithfu l at all times vied eagerly who shou ld soonest tou ch his flesh. For he had been treated with all honor for his holy life even before his gra y hairs came. 3 Forthwith then the instru ments tha t were prepared for the pile were pla ced about him; and as they were going lik ewise to nail him to the sta k e, he said; 'Leave me as I am; for He that hath granted me to e ndu re the fire will grant me also to rema in at the pile u nmoved, even withou t the secu rity which ye seek from the nails.' CHAPT ER 1 4 1 So they did not nail him, bu t tied him. T hen he, placing his hands b ehind him and being bou nd to the sta k e, lik e a noble ram ou t of a grea t flock for an offering, a bu rnt sa crifice made ready and a cceptable to God, look ing u p to heaven said; 'O Lord God Almighty, the Father of T hy beloved and blessed Son Jesu s Christ, throu gh whom we have r eceived the k nowledge o f T hee, the God of angels and powers and o f all crea tion and of the whole race of the righteou s, who live in T hy pre sence; 2 I bless T hee for that T hou hast gra nted me this day and hou r, that I might receive a portion among st the nu mber of martyrs in the cu p of Th y Christ u nto resu rrection of eternal life, both of sou l and of body, in t he
incorru ptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among these in T hy presence this day, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as T hou didst prepare and reveal it befor ehand, and hast accomplished it, T hou that art the faithfu l and tru e God. 3 For this cau se, yea and for all things, I praise T hee, I bless T hee, I glorify T hee, throu gh the eternal and heavenly High-priest, J esu s Christ, T hy beloved Son, throu gh whom with Him and the Holy Spirit be glory both n ow a n d ever and for the ages to come. Amen. ' CHAPT ER 1 5 1 When he had offered u p the Amen and finished his prayer, the firemen lighted the fire. And, a mighty flame flashing forth, we to whom it was given to see, saw a ma rvel, yea and we were preserved that we might r elate to the rest what ha ppened. 2 T he fire, mak ing the appea rance of a vau lt, lik e the sail of a ve ssel filled by the wind, made a wall rou nd about the body of the martyr; and it was there in the midst, not lik e flesh bu rning, but lik e a lo af in the oven o r like gold and silver r efined in a fu rnace. For we perceived su ch a fr a grant smell, as if it were the wafted odor of frank incense or some oth er preciou s spice. CHAPT ER 1 6 1 So at length the lawless men, se eing that his body cou ld not be co nsu med by the fire, ordered an exec u tioner to go u p to him and stab him with a dagger. And when he had done this, there came forth a do ve and a quantity of blood, so that it extingu ished the fire; and all the mu ltitu de ma rvelled that there
shou ld be so great a difference b e tween the u nbelievers a nd the elect. 2 In the nu mber of these was this ma n, the gloriou s martyr Pol ycarp, who was fou nd an apostolic and prophetic teacher in ou r own time, a bishop o f the holy Chu rch which is in Smyrna. For every word which he u ttered from his mou th was acco mplished and will be acco mplished. CHAPT ER 1 7 1 Bu t the jealou s and enviou s Evil One, the adversary of the family of the righteou s, having seen the grea tness of his martyrdom and his bla meless life from the beginning, a nd how he was crowned with the crown o f im mortality and had won a rewa rd which no ne cou ld gainsay, ma na ged that not even his poor body shou ld be tak en away by u s, a lthou gh many desired to d o this and to tou ch his holy flesh. 2 So he pu t forward Nicetes, the f a ther of Herod and brother of Alce , to plea d with the magistrate not to give u p his body, 'lest,' so it was sa id, 'they shou ld abandon the cru c ified one and begin to worship this ma n'—this being do ne at the inst iga tion and u rgent entreaty of the Jews, who also watched wh en we were a bou t to tak e it from the fire, not k nowing that it will be imposs ible for u s either to forsak e at any time the Christ who su ffered for the sa lva tion of the whole world of those that are saved —su ffered thou gh fau ltless for si nners—nor to worship any other. 3 For Him, being the Son of God, we a dore, bu t the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord we cherish as they deserve for their ma tchless affection towards their
own King and Teacher. May it be ou r lot also to be fou nd partak ers and fellow-di sciples with them. CHAPT ER 1 8 1 T he centu rion therefore, seeing the opposition raised on the part of the Jews, set hi m in the midst and bu rnt him after their cu stom. 2 And so we afterwards took u p his bones which are more valu able than preciou s stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a sui ta ble place; 3 where the Lord will permit u s to gather ourselves t ogether, as we are able, in gladness and joy, and to celebrate the birth-day of his martyrdom for the commemor a tion of those that have already fou ght in the contest, and for the training and prepa ration of those that shall do so hereafter. CHAPT ER 1 9 1 So it befell the blessed Polycarp, who having with those from Phil a delphia su ffered martyrdom in Smyrna —twelve in all—is especia lly remembered more than the others by all men, so that he is talk ed of even by the heathen in every place: for he showed himself n ot only a notable teacher, bu t also a disti ngu ished ma rtyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate, seeing that it was after the pattern of the Gospel of Christ. 2 Having by his endu rance ove rcome the u nrighteou s ru ler in the conflict and so received the cro wn of immortality, he rejoiceth in co mpany with the Apostles and all rig hteou s men, and glorifieth the A lmighty God and Father, and ble sseth ou r Lord Jesu s Christ, the savior of
ou r sou ls and helmsman of ou r b odies a nd sheph erd of the u niversal Chu rch which is throu ghou t the world. CHAPT ER 2 0 1 Ye indeed requ ired that the things which happened sh ou ld be shown u nto you at greater length: bu t we for the present have certified you as it were in a su mmary throu gh ou r brother Marcianu s. When then ye ha ve informed you rselves o f these things, send th e letter about lik ewise to the brethren which are fa rther off, that they also may glor ify the Lord, who mak et h election from His own servants. 2 Now u nto Him that is able to bring u s all by His grace and bou nty u nto His eternal k ingdom, throu gh His only-begotten Son Jesu s Christ, be glory, honor, power, and grea tness for ever. Salute all the saints. T hey that ar e with u s salu te you , a nd Eua restu s, who wrote the letter, with his whole hou se. CHAPT ER 2 1 1 Now the blessed Polycarp was ma rtyred on the second day o f the first pa rt of the month Xa nthicu s, on the seventh b efore the ca lends o f Ma rch, on a great Sabbath , at the eighth hou r. He was apprehended by Herodes, when Philip of Tralles was high priest, in the proconsu lship of Sta tiu s Quadratu s, bu t in the reign of the Eternal King Jesu s Christ. To whom be the glory, honor, grea tness, a nd eternal throne, from ge nera tion to generation. Amen. CHAPT ER 2 2 1 We bid you God speed, brethren, while ye walk by the word of Jesu s
Christ which is according to the Gospel; with whom be glory to God for the salvation of His holy elect; even as the bl essed Polycarp su ffered martyrdom, in whose footstep s may it be ou r lot to be fou nd in the k ingdom of Jesu s Christ. 2 T his accou nt Gaiu s co pied from the papers of Irenaeu s, a disciple of Polycarp. T he same also lived with Irenaeu s. 3 And I Socrates wrote it down in Corinth from the copy of Gaiu s. Grace be with all men. 4 And I Pioniu s again wrote it down from th e aforementioned copy, ha ving searched it ou t (for the blessed Polycarp showed me in a r evelation, as I will declare in the s equ el), gathering it together when it was now well nigh worn ou t by age, that the Lord Jesu s Christ may gat her me also with His elect into His heavenly k ingdom; to whom be the glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. The Three Proceeding Paragraphs As Read In The Mo sco w M s. CHAPT ER 2 2 2 T his accou nt Gaiu s copied from the papers of Irenaeu s. T he same lived with Irenaeu s who had been a disciple of the holy Pol ycarp. For this Irenaeu s, being in Rome at the time of the martyrdom of the bishop Polycarp, instru cted many; a nd many most excellent and orthodox treatises by hi m are in ci rcu lation. In these he mak es mention of Pol ycarp, saying that he was tau ght by him. And he ably refu ted every h eresy, and handed do wn the catholic ru le of the Chu rch ju st as he had r eceived it from the sa int. He men-
tions this fact also, that when Ma rcion, after whom the Ma rcionites a re ca lled, met the holy Pol ycarp on one occasion, and said 'Re cognize u s, Polycarp,' he said in reply to Ma rcion, 'Yes indeed, I recognize the firstborn o f Satan.' T he follo wing sta tement also is made in the writings of Irenaeu s, that on the very day and hour when Polycarp wa s martyred in Smyrna Irenaeu s being in the city of the Romans hea rd a voice as of a tru mpet sa ying, ' Polycarp is ma rtyred.' 3 From these papers of Irenae u s then, as has been stated a lready, Ga iu s made a copy, and from the copy of Gaiu s Isocrates made anot her in Corinth. 4 And I Pioniu s again wrote it down fro m the copy of Iso crates, ha ving searched for it in obedience to a revelation of the holy Polycarp, ga thering it together, when it was well nigh worn ou t by age, that the Lord Jesu s Christ may gather me a lso with His elect into His heavenly k ingdom; to whom be the glory with the Fa ther and the Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
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