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Saint Polycarp Feb 23 breski1 February 28, 2008 Polycarp (69 – 155 AD) (Ancient Greek: Πολύκαρπος) was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna[1]. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a …More
Saint Polycarp Feb 23

breski1 February 28, 2008 Polycarp (69 – 155 AD) (Ancient Greek: Πολύκαρπος) was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna[1]. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.[2] Polycarp is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches.
It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian,[3] that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.
RevSpitz
Polycarp is not the first recorded martyr's death. The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:1)
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FEBRUARY 23, 2011
DAILY PRAYER WITH REGNUM CHRISTI
THE ZEAL OF CHARITY
February 23, 2011
Memorial of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr
Father Edward Hopkins, LC
Mark 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in
your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow
us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs
a mighty deed …More
FEBRUARY 23, 2011
DAILY PRAYER WITH REGNUM CHRISTI
THE ZEAL OF CHARITY
February 23, 2011
Memorial of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr
Father Edward Hopkins, LC
Mark 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in
your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow
us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs
a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you and in all the
expressions of your goodness and love in my life. I believe in your
Eucharist, where you have made yourself my bread and a prisoner of
love to teach me goodness of heart. I trust that you can train my
heart to react more as you do, with forgiveness and blessing. I love
you, Lord; I wish to love you with my prayer and increased charity.
Mary, teach me to love with the heart of your son.
Petition: Make my heart more like yours, Lord.
1. A Son of Thunder The young apostle says with uncontrolled
fervor, "We tried to prevent him." They obviously acted first and
consulted Jesus only afterwards. What moved them? What so often moves
us--a sense of righteous zeal! We know or think we know what is
right. "Let no one step out of line, or we will let him know!"
Moreover, this person "does not follow us," so he should not be able
to act in your name! What is this "Son of Thunder" missing? Is not
the mightiest deed an act of charity? How often do I make rash
judgments without really knowing the full picture and without
consulting Jesus first?
2. Judgments of Gospel Charity Jesus does not hesitate to offer a
positive judgment. Mighty deeds in his name can be found only in one
speaking well of him. Moreover, beyond logic, Jesus possesses a
deeper insight. He reads all actions with a heart of charity. His
judgments will always be colored by his looking to find the very best
in each person. His every action will be interpreted by love. In such
manner he interprets well the actions of the woman who wipes his feet
with her tears and hair, of the paralytic lowered from the roof, of
the tax collector who climbed a tree to see him. Do I judge others
with a heart filled with gospel charity, or am I very quick to spot
faults? Are my impulses modified by my experience of Christ's love
for me?
3. For or Against Him? Jesus presents a simple principle for
judging. Unless a person shows himself to be against us, consider him
for us. We should fight to help others be "for us." "Believe all the
good you hear and only believe the evil you see."This supposition of
goodness runs contrary to our tendency to judge and speak evil of
others with a minimum of evidence while demanding disproportionate
proofs to credit them for good. Is it my job to find deformities in a
member of the Body of Christ? A good person sees with eyes of
goodness. Why can I not find excuses for the weakness and failings I
see in others? Why is it so easy to speak poorly of others, to point
out their defects and to fall into slander or gossip? Would the
answer be found in the narrow or stingy dimensions of my own heart?
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, grant me a heart overflowing
with your love. Make charity my first reaction, my constant hope and
my irresistible tendency. Open my eyes in faith to see you working in
people of all backgrounds and faiths. Help me to dismiss all
personal, unnecessary judgments with an assumption of charity. May I
win souls with my goodness and never be without charity in my fight
for your Kingdom.
Resolution: I will counter every thought against charity with two
thoughts of charity. I will counter every word against charity with
two words of sincere charity for the one maligned.
meditation.regnumchristi.org
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TODAY: February 23, 2011
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Saint Polycarp Feb 23

Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist.
But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first More
Saint Polycarp Feb 23

Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist.
But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first generation could not teach about. What did you do when those eyewitnesses were gone? How do you carry on the correct teachings of Jesus? How do you answer new questions that never came up before?
With the apostles gone, heresies sprang up pretending to be true teaching, persecution was strong, and controversies arose over how to celebrate liturgy that Jesus never laid down rules for.
Polycarp, as a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, found there was only one answer -- to be true to the life of Jesus and imitate that life. Saint Ignatius of Antioch told Polycarp "your mind is grounded in God as on an immovable rock."
When faced with heresy, he showed the "candid face" that Ignatius admired and that imitated Jesus' response to the Pharisees. Marcion, the leader of the Marcionites who followed a dualistic heresy, confronted Polycarp and demanded respect by saying, "Recognize us, Polycarp." Polycarp responded, "I recognize you, yes, I recognize the son of Satan."
On the other hand when faced with Christian disagreements he was all forgiveness and respect. One of the controversies of the time came over the celebration of Easter. The East, where Polycarp was from, celebrated the Passover as the Passion of Christ followed by a Eucharist on the following day. The West celebrated Easter on the Sunday of the week following Passover. When Polycarp went to Rome to discuss the difference with Pope Anicetus, they could not agree on this issue. But they found no difference in their Christian beliefs. And Anicetus asked Polycarp to celebrate the Eucharist in his own papal chapel.
Polycarp faced persecution the way Christ did. His own church admired him for following the "gospel model" -- not chasing after martyrdom as some did, but avoiding it until it was God's will as Jesus did. They considered it "a sign of love to desire not to save oneself alone, but to save also all the Christian brothers and sisters."
One day, during a bloody martyrdom when Christians were attacked by wild animals in the arena, the crowd became so mad that they demanded more blood by crying, "Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found." (They considered Christians "atheists" because they didn't believe in their pantheon of gods.) Since Polycarp was not only known as a leader but as someone holy "even before his grey hair appeared", this was a horrible demand.
Polycarp was calm but others persuaded him to leave the city and hide at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer for people he knew and for the Church. During his prayer he saw a vision of his pillow turned to fire and announced to his friends that the dream meant he would be burned alive.
As the search closed in, he moved to another farm, but the police discovered he was there by torturing two boys. He had a little warning since he was upstairs in the house but he decided to stay, saying, "God's will be done."
Then he went downstairs, talked to his captors and fed them a meal. All he asked of them was that they give him an hour to pray. He spent two hours praying for everyone he had every known and for the Church, "remembering all who had at any time come his way -- small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world." Many of his captors started to wonder why they were arresting this holy, eighty-six-year-old bishop.
But that didn't stop them from taking him into the arena on the Sabbath. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, "Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man."
The proconsul begged the eighty-six-year-old bishop to give in because of his age. "Say 'Away with the atheists'" the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to the face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, "Away with the atheists." The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian." Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, "Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us."
Because of Polycarp's lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive but Polycarp knew that the fire that burned for an hour was better than eternal fire.
When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed, "Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, among those who are in you presence, as you have prepared and foretold and fulfilled, God who is faithful and true. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen."
The fire was lit as Polycarp said Amen and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn't being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.
The proconsul wouldn't let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: "They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world." After the body was burned, they stole the bones in order to celebrate the memory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution. The date was about February 23, 156.
In His Footsteps: When faced with challenges to your Christian life, try a version of Polycarp's prayer of martyrdom: "Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen."
Prayer: Saint Polycarp, sometimes Christ seems so far away from us. Centuries have passed since he and the apostles walk the earth. Help us to see that he is close to us always and that we can keep him near by imitating his life as you did. Amen
www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php
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St. Polycarp (69 – 155 AD) (Ancient Greek: Πολύκαρπος) was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna[1]. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.[2] Polycarp is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches. It is recorded by Irenaeus, …More
St. Polycarp (69 – 155 AD) (Ancient Greek: Πολύκαρπος) was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna[1]. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.[2] Polycarp is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches. It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian,[3] that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.[4] The early tradition that expanded upon the Martyrdom to link Polycarp in competition and contrast with John the Apostle who, though many people had tried to kill him, was not martyred but died of old age after being exiled to the island of Patmos, is embodied in the Sahidic Coptic fragmentary papyri (the "Harris fragments"), now in the British Library, dating to the 3rd to 6th centuries.[5] Frederick Weidmann, their editor, interprets the "Harris fragments" as Smyrnan hagiography addressing Smyrna-Ephesus church rivalries, which "develops the association of Polycarp and John to a degree unwitnessed, so far as we know, either before or since."[6] The fragments echo the Martyrology and diverge from it. Polycarp has remained figured as a disciple of John the Apostle.[7] With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians; it is first recorded by Irenaeus of Lyons. Surviving writings and early accountsThe sole surviving work attributed to him is Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, a mosaic of references to the Greek Scriptures, preserved/produced in Irenaeus' account of Polycarp's life. It, and an account of The Martyrdom of Polycarp that takes the form of a circular letter from the church of Smyrna to the churches of Pontus, form part of the collection of writings Roman Catholics term "The Apostolic Fathers" to emphasize their particular closeness to the apostles in Church traditions. Outside of the Book of Acts which contains the death of Saint Stephen, the Martyrdom is considered one of the earliest genuine[1] accounts of a Christian martyrdom, and is one of the very few genuine accounts from the actual age of the persecutions. [edit] LifeThere are two chief sources of information concerning the life of Polycarp: the letter of the Smyrnaeans recounting the martyrdom of Polycarp and the passages in Irenaeus' Adversus Haereses. Other sources are the epistles of Ignatius, which include one to Polycarp and another to the Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp's own letter to the Philippians. Other sources, such as the Life of Polycarp or excerpts from Tertullian and Eusebius of Caesarea are considered largely unhistorical or based on previous material. In 1999, some third to 6th century Coptic fragments about Polycarp were also published.[8] [edit] PapiasAccording to Irenaeus, Polycarp was a companion of Papias[9], another "hearer of John" as Irenaeus interprets Papias' testimony, and a correspondent of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius addressed a letter to him, and mentions him in his letters to the Ephesians and to the Magnesians. Irenaeus claims to have been a pupil of Polycarp and regarded the memory of Polycarp as a link to the apostolic past. Irenaeus relates how and when he became a Christian, and in his letter to Florinus stated that he saw and heard Polycarp personally in lower Asia. In particular, he heard the account of Polycarp's discussion with "John the Presbyter" and with others who had seen Jesus. Irenaeus also reports that Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a bishop, and communicated with many who had seen Jesus. He repeatedly emphasizes the very great age of Polycarp. [edit] Visit to AnicetusAccording to Irenaeus, during the time his fellow Syrian, Anicetus, was Bishop of Rome, in the 150s or 160, Polycarp visited Rome to discuss the differences that existed between Asia and Rome "with regard to certain things" and especially about the time of the Easter festivals. Irenaeus said that on certain things the two bishops speedily came to an understanding, while as to the time of Easter, each adhered to his own custom, without breaking off communion with the other. Anicetus— the Roman sources offering it as a mark of special honor— allowed Polycarp to celebrate the Eucharist in his own church.[10] They might have found their customs for observing the Christian Passover differed, Polycarp following the eastern practice of celebrating Passover on the 14th of Nisan, the day of the Jewish Passover, regardless of what day of the week it fell. [edit] Date of Martyrdom Polycarp miraculously extinguishing the fire burning the city of SmyrnaIn the Martyrdom, Polycarp is recorded as saying on the day of his death, "Eighty and six years I have served him," which could indicate that he was then eighty-six years old[11] or that he may have lived eighty-six years after his conversion.[2] Polycarp goes on to say, "How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? Bring forth what thou wilt." Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor.[12] The date of Polycarp's death is in dispute. Eusebius dates it to the reign of Marcus Aurelius, c. 166 – 167. However, a post-Eusebian addition to the Martyrdom of Polycarp dates his death to Saturday, February 23, in the proconsulship of Statius Quadratus — which works out to be 155 or 156. These earlier dates better fit the tradition of his association with Ignatius and John the Evangelist. However, the addition to the Martyrdom cannot be considered reliable on only its own merits. Lightfoot would argue for the earlier date of Polycarp's death, to which others such as Killen would strongly disagree. [edit] Great SabbathBecause the Smyrnaean letter known as the Martyrdom of Polycarp states that Polycarp was taken on the day of the Sabbath and killed on the Great Sabbath, some believe that this is evidence that the Smyrnaeans under Polycarp observed the seventh day Sabbath. William Cave wrote, "...the Sabbath or Saturday (for so the word sabbatum is constantly used in the writings of the fathers, when speaking of it as it relates to Christians) was held by them in great veneration, and especially in the Eastern parts honoured with all the public solemnities of religion."[13] Some feel that the expression, the Great Sabbath refers to the Christian Passover or another annual holy day. If so, then the martyrdom would have had to occur between one and two months later as Nisan 14 (the date that Polycarp observed Passover) cannot come before the end of March in any year. Other Great Sabbaths (if this is referring to what are commonly considered to be Jewish holy days, though observed by many early professors of Christ) come in the Spring, late summer, or Fall. None occur in the winter. The Great Sabbath may be alluded to in John 7:37. This is called the Last Great Day and is a stand-alone annual holy day immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles. It is, however, disputable whether such biblical references mean a common practice or just onetime events. [edit] ImportancePolycarp occupies an important place in the history of the early Christian Church[8]. He is among the earliest Christians whose writings survive. It is probable that he knew John the Apostle, the disciple of Jesus [14]. He was an elder of an important congregation in an area where the apostles laboured. And he is from an era whose orthodoxy is widely accepted by Orthodox Churches, Oriental Churches, Seventh Day Church of God groups, Protestants and Catholics alike. All of this makes his writings of great interest. Irenaeus, who remembered him from his youth, said of him[15]: "a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics". Polycarp lived in an age after the deaths of the apostles, when a variety of interpretations of the sayings of Jesus were being preached. His role was to authenticate orthodox teachings through his reputed connection with the apostle John: "a high value was attached to the witness Polycarp could give as to the genuine tradition of old apostolic doctrine," Wace commented,[2] "his testimony condemning as offensive novelties the figments of the heretical teachers. Irenaeus states (iii. 3) that on Polycarp's visit to Rome his testimony converted many disciples of Marcion and Valentinus. Surviving accounts of the bravery of this very old man in the face of death by burning at the stake added credence to his words. [edit] References1.^ a b Saint Polycarp at Encyclopædia Britannica 2.^ a b c Henry Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies, s.v. "Polycarpus, bishop of Smyrna". 3.^ Tertullian, De praescriptione hereticorum 32.2 4.^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haeresis, Polycarp does not quote from the Gospel of John in his surviving letter, which may be an indication that whichever John he knew was not the author of that gospel, or that the gospel was not finished during Polycarp's discipleship with John. Weidmann suggests (Weidmann 1999:132) that the "Harris fragments" may reflect early traditions: "the raw material for a narrative about John and Polycarp may have been in place before Irenaeus; the codification of the significance of a direct line of succession from the apostle John through Polycarp may arguably be linked directly to Irenaeus". 5.^ Dating according to Frederick W. Weidmann, ed. and tr. Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to the Literary Tradition (University of Notre Dame Press, 1999). 6.^ Weidmann 1999:133. 7.^ Staniforth, Maxwell. Early Christian Writings. (Penguin Books: London, 1987), 115. 8.^ a b Hartog, Paul (2002). Polycarp and the New Testament. p. 17. ISBN 9783161474194. books.google.com/books 9.^ Irenaeus, V.xxxii. 10.^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Polycarp". Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press. 11.^ Staniforth, Maxwell, trans. Early Christian Writings London: Penguin Books (1987): 115. 12.^ Polycarp.net 13.^ Cave, Primitive Christianity: or the Religion of the Ancient Christians in the First Ages of the Gospel. 1840, revised edition by H. Cary. Oxford, London, pp. 84-85). 14.^ Jerome, Illustrious Men 17 15.^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III.3.4 [edit] External links Wikisource has original works written by or about: Polycarp Wikimedia Commons has media related to: St Polycarp Letter to the Philippians from the Ante-Nicene Fathers Early Christian Writings: Polycarp; text and introductions Polycarp: The Apostolic Legacy Paul N. Tobin, "The Apostolic Succession: Polycarp and Clement": A skeptical assessment of inconsistencies in the tradition The Martyrdom of Polycarp: The contemporary account of his death in the letter to the Smyrnaeans. "St. Polycarp". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. www.newadvent.org/cathen/12219b.htm. Saint Polycarp of Smyrna at Patron Saints Index The Golden Legend: Polycarp of Smyrna en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp