Greetings! My article link below reflects on my recent pilgrimage to Greece “In the Footsteps of Saint Paul,” the Apostle to the Gentiles. I’m sharing to recall how Christianity spread throughout the pagan world with the courage and sacrifice of the first Christians. And now we are called to continue the mission! God bless all of you in your faith journey!!
My Boss (a Protestant) asked me about St. Ignatius. I once showed him a list of every Popes from St. Peter all the way up to John Paul II in the back of my Bible.
He was watching a program that mentioned Ignatius and he wanted to see if he was one of the early Popes.
I could recall that he was a successor to St. John, but I had to research if he was an early Pope. He was not, but he was the third Bishop of Antioch.
He, like St. Paul, is what we need more of in our Church today.
The Catholic Encyclopedia describes St. Ignatius’ character as “that of a true athlete of Christ. The triple honor of apostle, bishop, and martyr was well merited by this energetic soldier of the Faith. An enthusiastic devotion to duty, a passionate love of sacrifice, and an utter fearlessness in the defense of Christian truth, were his chief characteristics. Zeal for the spiritual well-being of those under his charge breathes from every line of his writings. Ever vigilant lest they be infected by the rampant heresies of those early days; praying for them, that their faith and courage may not be wanting in the hour of persecution; constantly exhorting them to unfailing obedience to their bishops; teaching them all Catholic truth; eagerly sighing for the crown of martyrdom, that his own blood may fructify in added graces in the souls of his flock, he proves himself in every sense a true, pastor of souls, the good shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep.”
His early letters include:
of Ephesus (Pros Ephesious);
of Magnesia (Magnesieusin);
of Tralles (Trallianois);
of Rome (Pros Romaious);
of Philadelphia (Philadelpheusin);
of Smyrna (Smyrnaiois); and
to Polycarp (Pros Polykarpon).
These might have to be a rabbet hole that I travel down during Lent : )