The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp

The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO POLYCARP (often abbreviated Ign. Poly.) is an epistle attributed to Ignatius of Antioch, a second-century bishop of Antioch, and addressed to Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. It was written during Ignatius’ transport from Antioch to his execution in Rome.

See also: Ignatius of Antioch § Epistles

To Polycarp is one of seven epistles attributed to Ignatius that are generally accepted as authentic. In 5th century, this collection was enlarged by spurious letters.

It is clear that To Polycarp was written soon before the martyrdom of Ignatius, but it is uncertain when precisely this martyrdom occurred. Tradition places the martyrdom of Ignatius in the reign of Trajan, who was emperor of Rome from 98 to 117 AD. While many scholars accept the traditional dating of Ignatius’ martyrdom under Trajan, others have argued for a somewhat later date. Richard Pervo dated Ignatius’ death to 135-140 AD, and British classicist Timothy Barnes has argued for a date some time in the 140’s AD.

The Epistle of St. Ignatus to Polycarp
Apostolic Fathers (Lightfoot)

1:1 Ignatius who is also Theophorus, unto Polycarp who is bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans or rather who hath for his bishop God the Father and Jesus Christ, abundant greeting.

1:2 Welcoming thy godly mind which is grounded as it were on an immovable rock, I give exceeding glory that it hath been vouchsafed me to see thy blameless face, whereof I would fain have joy in God.