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Saint Policarp, bishop of Smyrna.

Saint Policarp knew in person several of Christ’s disciples, and got baptized by one of them. He followed Saint John the Apostle and became his disciple, then was established by him the bishop of Smyrna.

He then showed a great apostolic zeal serving the Word of God to the flock entrusted to his care; which made Saint John praise him in the book of Apocalypse:

[Rev 2:8-11] "To the angel of the church in Smyrna, write this: 'The first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this: ‘I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich. I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not, but rather are members of the assembly of Satan. Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life’. ‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor shall not be harmed by the second death."'

When Saint Ignatius, the patriarch of Antioch was led to Rome where he ended up a martyr, he stopped by the city of Smyrna, where Saint Policarp hurried up to welcome him and kissed his chains. And, when the conflict between Rome and the Eastern Churches grow up about when and how to celebrate Easter, Saint Polycarp went to Rome and met Pope Anaclytos, who welcomed him, and agreed with him during the synod that was held to deal with the Easter celebration issue, that each church whether in the East or West should keep its own Apostolic tradition.

The historian Eusabius mentioned in his ecclesiastical history (F-24), that Pope Anaclytos, delegated to Polycarp to pontificate in public in his presence, in a move to honor him.

When the persecution again the Christians got intense, the governor of Asia Minor arrested Polycarp, and tried to convince him to give up his faith in Christ and sacrifice for the idols. At that Saint Polycarp answered: “I have spent some 86 years in the service of Christ! How dare you ask me to pay Him back by betraying Him, He Who is my King and God?” Then the governor ordered that polycarp be barbequed (burned). Polycarp then responded that: “the fires you are threatening me with ends, while the fires that God saved for the wicked are everlasting.” At that Polycarp was thrown into the fires, and he raised his eyes up to heaven in prayer and praising the Lord, and fires could not hurt him. Then a soldier pierced him with a lance and lots of blood flow from Saint Polycarp and quenched the fires. Several people who witnessed this repented and believed in Christ. Saint Polycarp martyrdom was in the year 166, on Good Saturday [1]. May his prayers be with us all. Amen.

[1] Known in the Maronite Catholic tradition: the Saturday of Light, or the Saturday of Lazarus.