St. Polycarp our Patron saint!
St. Polycarp, pray for us and help us to further our mission in the Salvation of Souls.
Who is St. Polycarp?
Polycarp was a personal disciple of the Apostle John. As an old man, he was the bishop of the Church at Smyrna in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Persecution against the Christians broke out and believers were being fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The crowd began to call for the Christians' leader Polycarp. The authorities sent out a search party to bring him in. They tortured two slave boys to reveal where Polycarp was being hidden.
It was a Friday afternoon. Polycarp was resting upstairs in a country home. The authorities came in fully armed as if they were arresting a dangerous criminal. Polycarp's friends wanted to sneak him out, but he refused, saying, "God's will be done."
In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable, Polycarp welcomed his captors as if they were friends, talked with them and ordered that food and drink be served to all in his presence. Then Polycarp made one simple request: one hour to pray before they take him away to his death. The officers, overhearing his prayers (that went on for two hours) began to have second thoughts. What were they doing arresting an old man like this?
Polycarp was condemned to burn at the stake, but the flames of the roaring fire arched around his body and never touched him. Out of frustration, his captors eventually stabbed him to death and all the escaping blood and fluids quenched the flames in an instant.
Polycarp was an individual who impressed those around him by his way of life. He taught his friends (and enemies) the paramount importance of holding nothing back in striving to imitate the life of Christ. St Polycarp, pray for us!