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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
POLYCARP: Chapter XVII.—The Christians are...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVII.—The Christians are refused Polycarp’s body.

But when the adversary of the race of the righteous, the envious, malicious, and wicked one, perceived the impressive 463 nature of his martyrdom, and [considered] the blameless life he had led from the beginning, and how he was now crowned with the wreath of immortality, having beyond dispute received his reward, he did his utmost that not the least memorial of him should be taken away by us, although many desired to do this, and to become possessors 464 of his holy flesh. For this end he suggested it to Nicetes, the father of Herod and brother of Alce, to go and entreat the governor not to give up his body to be buried, “lest,” said he, “forsaking Him p. 43 that was crucified, they begin to worship this one.” This he said at the suggestion and urgent persuasion of the Jews, who also watched us, as we sought to take him out of the fire, being ignorant of this, that it is neither possible for us ever to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of such as shall be saved throughout the whole world (the blameless one for sinners 465 ), nor to worship any other. For Him indeed, as being the Son of God, we adore; but the martyrs, as disciples and followers of the Lord, we worthily love on account of their extraordinary 466 affection towards their own King and Master, of whom may we also be made companions 467 and fellow-disciples!



Literally, “greatness.”


The Greek, literally translated, is, “and to have fellowship with his holy flesh.”


This clause is omitted by Eusebius: it was probably interpolated by some transcriber, who had in his mind 1 Pet. iii. 18.


Literally, “unsurpassable.”


Literally, “fellow-partakers.”

Next: Chapter XVIII.—The body of Polycarp...

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