IGNATIUS, ALSO CALLED THEOPHORUS, TO THE HOLY CHURCH AT TRALLES IN ASIA, loved by God the Father of Jesus Christ; elect and an honour to God; enjoying inward and outward peace through the Passion of Jesus Christ, who is our hope when we rise to be with Him. I salute her in Apostolic fashion with the fullness of grace and offer her heartiest good wishes.
1. Beyond reproach, I hear, and unshaken in patient endurance is your disposition‑‑not an acquired habit, but a natural endowment. I was informed of it by Polybius, your bishop, who by the will of God and Jesus Christ came to Smyrna and so heartily shared my joy at the chains which I bear in Christ Jesus, that in his person I beheld your whole community. Welcoming, then, your God‑inspired goodwill, I burst into thanks and praise, finding that you, as I learned, were patterning yourselves after God.
2. Surely, when you submit to the bishop as representing Jesus Christ, it is clear to me that you are not living the life of men, but that of Jesus Christ, who died for us, that through faith in His death you might escape dying. It is needful, then‑‑and such is your practice‑‑that you do nothing without your bishop; but be subject also to the presbytery as representing the Apostles of Jesus Christ, our hope, in whom we are expected to live forever. It is further necessary that the deacons, the dispensers of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should win the approval of all in every way; for they are not dispensers of food and drink, but ministers of a church of God. Hence they must be on their guard against criticism, as against fire.