Today we remember and give thanks for Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr. Polycarp was a central figure in the early church. According to his pupil the church father Irenaeus, Polycarp was a disciple of the evangelist John. After serving for many years as bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp was arrested, tried, and executed for his faith on February 23, c. 156. An eyewitness narrative of his death, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, continues to encourage believers in times of persecution. When given the chance to recant his faith in Jesus Christ, he replied, “For eighty-six years I have been His servant, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme by King who saved me?”
Collect of the Day:
O God, the maker of heaven and earth, You gave boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior and steadfastness to die for the faith to Your venerable servant, Polycarp. Grant us grace to follow His example in sharing the cup of Christ’s suffering so that we may also share in His glorious resurrection; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.