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Polycarp
Polycarp
(Greek: Πολύκαρπος, Polýkarpos; Latin: Polycarpus; AD 69 – 155) was a 2nd-century Christian
Christian
bishop of Smyrna.[2] According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.[3] Polycarp
Polycarp
is regarded as a saint and Church Father
Church Father
in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name 'Polycarp' means 'much fruit' in Greek. It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian,[4] that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.[5] Saint
Saint
Jerome
Jerome
wrote that Polycarp
Polycarp
was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna. The early tradition that expanded upon the Martyrdom to link Polycarp in competition and contrast with John the Apostle
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 Coptic language fragmentary papyri (the "Harris fragments") dating to the 3rd to 6th centuries.[6] Frederick Weidmann, their editor, interprets the "Harris fragments" as Smyrnan hagiography addressing Smyrna–Ephesus church rivalries, which "develops the association of Polycarp
Polycarp
and John to a degree unwitnessed, so far as we know, either before or since".[7] The fragments echo the Martyrology, and diverge from it. With Clement of Rome
Clement of Rome
and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp
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
Irenaeus
of Lyons. Polycarp
Polycarp
is the patron saint of İzmir.

Contents

1 Surviving writings and early accounts 2 Life

2.1 Papias 2.2 Visit to Anicetus 2.3 Date of martyrdom

3 Great Sabbath 4 Importance 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Surviving writings and early accounts[edit] The sole surviving work attributed to him is Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, a mosaic of references to the Greek Scriptures, preserved in Irenaeus' account of Polycarp's life. It, and an account of The Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
that takes the form of a circular letter from the church of Smyrna
Smyrna
to the churches of Pontus, form part of the collection of writings Roman Catholics
Catholics
and some Protestants
Protestants
term "The Apostolic Fathers" to emphasize their particular closeness to the apostles in Church traditions. After the Acts of the Apostles, which describes the death of Saint
Saint
Stephen, the Martyrdom is considered one of the earliest genuine[2] accounts of a Christian
Christian
martyrdom, and is one of the earliest-known Christian
Christian
documents of this kind.[2] Life[edit] There are two chief sources of information concerning the life of Polycarp: the letter of the Smyrnaeans recounting the martyrdom of Polycarp
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. In 1999, some third to 6th century Coptic fragments about Polycarp
Polycarp
were also published.[8] Papias[edit] According to Irenaeus, Polycarp
Polycarp
was a companion of Papias,[9] another "hearer of John" as Irenaeus
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
Irenaeus
regarded the memory of Polycarp
Polycarp
as a link to the apostolic past. He relates how and when he became a Christian, and in his letter to Florinus, a fellow student of Polycarp
Polycarp
who had become a Roman presbyter and later lapsed into heresy.[10] Irenaeus
Irenaeus
stated that he saw and heard Polycarp
Polycarp
personally in lower Asia. Irenaeus
Irenaeus
wrote to Florinus:

I could tell you the place where the blessed Polycarp
Polycarp
sat to preach the Word of God. It is yet present to my mind with what gravity he everywhere came in and went out; what was the sanctity of his deportment, the majesty of his countenance; and what were his holy exhortations to the people. I seem to hear him now relate how he conversed with John and many others who had seen Jesus
Jesus
Christ, the words he had heard from their mouths."[11]

In particular, he heard the account of Polycarp's discussion with John and with others who had seen Jesus. Irenaeus
Irenaeus
also reports that Polycarp
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. Polycarp
Polycarp
kissed the chains of Ignatius when he passed by Smyrna
Smyrna
on the road to Rome
Rome
for his martyrdom. Visit to Anicetus[edit] According to Irenaeus, during the time his fellow Syrian, Anicetus, was the Bishop of Rome, in the 150s or 160, Polycarp
Polycarp
visited Rome
Rome
to discuss the differences that existed between Asia and Rome
Rome
"with regard to certain things" and especially about the time of the Easter festivals. Irenaeus
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. Polycarp
Polycarp
followed the eastern practice of celebrating the feast on the 14th of Nisan, the day of the Jewish Passover, regardless of what day of the week it fell on. Anicetus followed the western practice of celebrating the feast on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox (March 21). Anicetus—the Roman sources offering it as a mark of special honor—allowed Polycarp
Polycarp
to celebrate the Eucharist
Eucharist
in his own church.[12] Date of martyrdom[edit]

Polycarp
Polycarp
miraculously extinguishing the fire burning the city of Smyrna

In the Martyrdom, Polycarp
Polycarp
is recorded as saying on the day of his death, "Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong", which could indicate that he was then eighty-six years old[13] or that he may have lived eighty-six years after his conversion.[3] Polycarp
Polycarp
goes on to say "How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? You threaten me with a fire that burns for a season, and after a little while is quenched; but you are ignorant of the fire of everlasting punishment that is prepared for the wicked."[11] Polycarp was burned at the stake and was pierced with a spear for refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor.[14] On his farewell, he said "I bless you Father for judging me worthy of this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ."[11] The date of Polycarp's death is in dispute. Eusebius
Eusebius
dates it to the reign of Marcus Aurelius, c. 166–167. However, a post-Eusebian addition to the Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
dates his death to Saturday, February 23, in the proconsulship of Lucius 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, with which Killen would strongly disagree. In addition, some have proposed a date in 177. However the earlier date of 156 is generally accepted.[15] Great Sabbath[edit] Because the Smyrnaean letter known as the Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
states that Polycarp
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
Polycarp
observed the seventh day Sabbath. William Cave
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. This is plain, not only from some passages in Ignatius and Clemens' Constitutions, but from writers of more unquestionable credit and authority. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, tells us that they assembled on Saturdays... to worship Jesus
Jesus
Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath."[16] Some feel that the expression the Great Sabbath refers to the Christian
Christian
Passover
Passover
or another annual holy day. If so, then Polycarp's martyrdom would have had to occur at least a month after the traditional February 23 dating since according to the Hebrew calendar the earliest time Nisan 14, the date of the Passover, can fall on in any given year is late March. 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, and the fall. None occur in winter. It is claimed that the "Great Sabbath" is alluded to in John 7:37. Here it is referred to as "the last day, that great day of the feast" and is a separate annual holy day immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles. Others argue that the gospel writer is referring to the seventh day of the Feast and later refers to the Eighth Day or annual Sabbath in John 9:14. It is more likely that the "Great Sabbath," as referred to in the Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
is alluded to in John 19:31 which points out "that [weekly] Sabbath day" following the "[day of the] preparation" was a "high day" or "great." In any event, however, it is disputable whether such biblical references imply a common practice or just onetime events. Importance[edit] Polycarp
Polycarp
occupies an important place in the history of the early Christian
Christian
Church.[8] He is among the earliest Christians whose writings survived. Saint
Saint
Jerome
Jerome
wrote that Polycarp
Polycarp
was a "disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna".[17] He was an elder of an important congregation which was a large contributor to the founding of the Christian
Christian
Church. He is from an era whose orthodoxy is widely accepted by Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Church of God groups, Sabbatarian groups, mainstream Protestants
Protestants
and Catholics
Catholics
alike. According to David Trobisch, Polycarp
Polycarp
may have been the one who compiled, edited, and published the New Testament.[18] All of this makes his writings of great interest. According to Eusebius, Polycrates of Ephesus cited the example of Polycarp
Polycarp
in defense of local practices during the Quartodeciman Controversy.[19] Irenaeus, who had heard him preach in his youth, said of him:[20] "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
Polycarp
had learned from apostle John to flee from those who change the divine truth. One day he met in the streets of Rome
Rome
the heretic Marcion
Marcion
who, resenting that Polycarp
Polycarp
did not greet him, said: "Do you know me?" The saint replied: "Yes, I know you, the first-born of Satan."[11] Polycarp
Polycarp
lived in an age after the deaths of the apostles, when a variety of interpretations of the sayings of Jesus
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
Polycarp
could give as to the genuine tradition of old apostolic doctrine", Wace commented,[3] "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
Marcion
and Valentinus. See also[edit]

Biography portal Christianity portal History portal

Christianity in the 1st century Christianity in the 2nd century Early centers of Christianity Early Christianity Ephesus History of early Christianity Ignatius of Antioch List of Catholic saints List of Christian
Christian
martyrs Quartodeciman

References[edit]

^ Eastern Catholic
Eastern Catholic
"Uniate" Churches included. ^ a b c Saint
Saint
Polycarp
Polycarp
at Encyclopædia Britannica ^ a b c Henry Wace, Dictionary of Christian
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". ^ Tertullian, De praescriptione hereticorum 32.2 ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III.3, Polycarp
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
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
Polycarp
may arguably be linked directly to Irenaeus". ^ Dating according to Frederick W. Weidmann, ed. and tr. Polycarp
Polycarp
and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to the Literary Tradition (University of Notre Dame Press, 1999). ^ Weidmann 1999:133. ^ a b Hartog, Paul (2002). Polycarp
Polycarp
and the New Testament. p. 17. ISBN 978-3-16-147419-4.  ^ Irenaeus, V.xxxiii. ^ Bacchus, Francis Joseph. "St. Polycarp." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 18 October 2017 ^ a b c d Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "St. Polycarp". My First Book
Book
of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 58–59. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.  ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Polycarp". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ Staniforth, Maxwell, trans. Early Christian
Christian
Writings London: Penguin Books (1987): 115. ^ " Polycarp
Polycarp
- Martyrdom". Polycarp.net.  ^ Ferguson, Everett (16 June 2005), "4: The Church and the Empire", Church History: From Christ to pre-Reformation, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, p. 80, ISBN 978-0-310-20580-7  ^ 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). ^ Schaff, Philip (ed.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2, 3  ^ Tobisch, David, "Who Published the New Testament?", Free Inquiry, 28:1 (2007/2008) pp.30–33 ^ Eusebius, Church History, Book
Book
V, Chapter 24 ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III.3.4

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Polycarp". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.  External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Polycarp

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint
Saint
Polycarp.

Early Christian
Christian
Writings Polycarp, text and introductions Polycarp: The Apostolic Legacy Paul N. Tobin, "The Apostolic Succession: Polycarp
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. The Golden Legend: Polycarp
Polycarp
of Smyrna Works by or about Polycarp
Polycarp
at Internet Archive Works by Polycarp
Polycarp
at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks)

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in Mesopotamia Apamea on the Euphrates Carchemish Urshu Khashshum Çayönü Dara Edessa Göbekli Tepe Harran Kussara Nevalı Çori Sakçagözü Sam'al Samosata Sareisa Seleucia at the Zeugma Sultantepe Tille Tushhan Zeugma

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 2475604 LCCN: n50080400 ISNI: 0000 0001 2117 8471 GND: 11859558X SELIBR: 84409 SUDOC: 027078035 BNF: cb119201952 (data) NLA: 44714208 BNE: XX1098

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