St. Ignatius

St Ignatius was born in the middle of the first century, and was made the third bishop of Antioch.  This is the city where St. Peter labored before he moved to Rome.  It was also the city where followers of Jesus were first called Christians.  Some people believe that St Ignatius along with St. Polycarp were disciples of John the Apostle.  After leading the church at Antioch for forty years, St. Ignatius was condemned to death during the reign of Emperor Trajan.  He was brought under military guard from Antioch to Rome by ship.  On his journey to Rome, the ship stopped at various ports where crowds of Christians would gather to greet the holy bishop of Antioch.  Two of these cities were Smyrna and Troas.  From each of those cities he wrote letters to the Christian communities.  In this way he used the same methods of preaching the Good News as St Paul.  St. Ignatius wrote seven letters, one of these letters was to St. Polycarp a fellow bishop who was also martyred.  When St. Ignatius arrived in Rome, he joined the Christians in prisons.  It was the last day of the public games, and the bishop was pushed out into the Colosseum amphitheatre.  Two fierce lions devoured him.  His companions carried his remains back to Antioch.  In 637 the relics were transferred to the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome.  He left behind a beautiful witness to the Gospel in his life and in his letters.  St. Ignatius died around 107.