The Feast of St Ignatius of Antioch: ‘I will come back and take you to be with me’

“DO not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:1-6.


The martyrdom of St Ignatius of Antioch.

“O how firm and steely thy soul, Ignatius.” The martyrdom of St Ignatius of Antioch.


TODAY is the feast day of St Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who was executed for his Christian faith in about AD 107 or 108.

He had been a disciple of the evangelist St John, and was only the second man to lead the church in Antioch, the place where the term ‘Christian’ was first used (Acts 11:26).

From at least the AD 60s, Christianity was regarded by the Roman government as subversive, and stubborn offenders could be sentenced to death.

One method of execution was to play a part in ‘sporting entertainments’ put on by the state, such as those celebrating Saturnalia on December 17-23 each year, when wild animals were baited with human victims. It was in one of these shows at the Colosseum in Rome that Ignatius was martyred.

In 637 his relics were translated to the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome.


For the saint. By the Studite.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the holy Spirit.

O HOW firm and steely thy soul, Ignatius, worthy of blessing! For in thy desire for him that loveth thee thou didst not give way, but saidst: ‘There is in me no fire of love for material things, but rather a living water, and it speaketh in me, within me it saith: Come to the Father.’ Therefore, like a fire tended by the divine Spirit, thou didst enflame the wild beasts to separate thee the swifter from this world, and send thee to the Christ thou desirest; intercede with him, that our souls be saved.

Now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

For the forefeast of the Nativity. By Cyprian.

BEHOLD, the time of our salvation is at hand: prepare, O cave, the Virgin is near to birth-giving; Bethlehem of the land of Judah, delight in this and be glad; for our Lord hath sprung forth from thee. Hear ye mountains and hills, ye lands about Judea, Christ cometh to save mankind, which he made, for he loveth mankind.



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