Saturday, February 23, 2008

Martyrdom of Polycarp

On this day, February 23, AD 155 - Martyrdom of Polycarp, an early Church Father who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Arrested at age 86, Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to deny the Christian faith.

The Unforgettable Martyrdom
In the year 155 persecution broke out against the Christians in Smyrna in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Believers were being fed to the wild beasts in the arena and burned alive. At the time the persecuters called for the Christians' leader, so the authorities brought in Polycarp. Polycarp had been a disciple of the apostle John and was a revered elderly leader of the church.

The church in Smyrna wrote an account of Polycarp's death and sent it to believers throughout the region. This was the first Christian martyr story, and it influenced how Christians thought about martyrdom ever afterward. Here is their account of Polycarp's arrest, trial and martyrdom.

Finish this article from the Christian History & Biography website.