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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
POLYCARP: Chapter XII.—Polycarp is sentenced...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XII.—Polycarp is sentenced to be burned.

While he spoke these and many other like things, he was filled with confidence and joy, and his countenance was full of grace, so that not merely did it not fall as if troubled by the things said to him, but, on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his herald to proclaim in the midst of the stadium thrice, “Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian.” This proclamation having been made by the herald, the whole multitude both of the heathen and Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, “This is the teacher of Asia, 451 the father of the Christians, and the overthrower of our gods, he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods.” Speaking thus, they cried out, and besought Philip the Asiarch 452 to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. But Philip answered that it was not lawful for him to do so, seeing the shows 453 of wild beasts were already finished. Then it seemed good to them to cry out with one consent, that Polycarp should be burnt alive. For thus it behooved the vision which was revealed to him in regard to his pillow to be fulfilled, when, seeing it on fire as he was praying, he turned about and said prophetically to the faithful that were with him, “I must be burnt alive.”



Some read, “ungodliness,” but the above seems preferable.


The Asiarchs were those who superintended all arrangements connected with the games in the several provinces.


Literally, “the baiting of dogs.”

Next: Chapter XIII.—The funeral pile is...

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